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What Tom Brady texted 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo before Super Bowl 54

What Tom Brady texted 49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo before Super Bowl 54

Never count out Touchdown Texting Tom. 

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady reached out to 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, his former understudy in Foxboro, in the lead-up to Super Bowl LIV. Garoppolo revealed as much on Super Bowl Opening Night, telling NFL Media's Michael Irvin that Brady kept it simple.

"He shot me a text, just (saying) 'Good luck' and everything like that," Garoppolo told Irvin. " 'Just go handle business.' It wasn't too complicated or anything, just 'Go win.' "

Garoppolo backed up Brady for parts of four seasons after the Patriots drafted him in 2014, and the two also share an agent. In his sweatsuit-wearing wisdom, New England coach Bill Belichick envisioned Garoppolo as Brady's successor, with the Eastern Illinois product ultimately leading the Patriots into another decade of dominance. 

It didn't work out that way, as the Patriots traded Garoppolo to the 49ers for a 2018 second-round draft pick on Halloween in 2017. Belichick reportedly didn't want to trade Garoppolo, with ESPN's Seth Wickersham writing two years ago that Patriots owner Robert Kraft ordered Belichick to do so.

Around three years after his last trip to the Super Bowl as a backup, Garoppolo has a chance to win his first ring as a starter under a much brighter spotlight. As the 49ers' franchise QB, Garoppolo had his own podium at opening night, which was not the case at Super Bowl LI. 

"Last time, I was out there," Garoppolo told Irvin, pointing to the throngs of media members at Marlins Park talking to other players in less-crowded scrums. "I was right in the jungle out there. So, I've got a little more space this time. I'm living good right now."

[RELATED: What Mahomes believes makes 49ers' defense so challenging]

Garoppolo didn't follow Brady's footsteps in New England, but he can in Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs. Brady beat a team from Missouri -- the then-St. Louis Rams -- in his first Super Bowl start back in 2002. Garoppolo will line up against the Chiefs on Sunday in Miami, Fla. 

If the 49ers lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy, Brady won't be the only one texting Garoppolo after the game. 

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (8 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 9 p.m. Tuesday and 3 p.m. Saturday).

Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.

Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route

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AP

Old 49ers-Odell Beckham trade idea shows NFL draft was better route

NFL draft season prompts plenty of outlandish trade scenarios to fill airtime and word counts, many of which never come to fruition.

Dallas Morning News reporter Joseph Hoyt dug up one such scenario Thursday, and it's a (hypothetical) trade the 49ers are (hypothetically) glad they didn't (hypothetically) make.

The 49ers would've had to pay a pretty penny for then-New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in the proposal put forth in a "Good Morning Football" segment nearly two years ago. Beckham was months away from signing a contract extension, so San Francisco would've traded a lot of draft capital for a star entering the final year of his contract. The picks the 49ers made in those slots formed the backbone of the 2019 NFC Champions.

Beckham's arrival would've changed things, though. The 49ers would've entered the season with arguably the best receiver in football as well as George Kittle, who'd emerge as arguably the best tight end. Kittle might not have set an NFL record for receiving yards by a tight end playing alongside Beckham, but he surely would've benefitted from the extra attention opposing defenses paid the receiver rather than him.

Do they still go 4-12 that year? The 49ers were 3-5 in games decided by six points or fewer in 2018, and Jimmy Garoppolo (torn ACL) missed all but one of those games. Beckham crossed the 1,000-yard threshold in just 12 games catching passes from Eli Manning in 2018, so it's -- at the very least -- conceivable he could've moved the needle in at least one of the 49ers' close losses.

[RELATED: Why 49ers should trade down from both first-round picks]

The 49ers would've picked no sooner than No. 4 overall with a 5-11 record in 2018, and any additional wins would've dropped them further down the draft order. Acquiring Beckham under the parameters "Good Morning Football" likely would've prevented the Niners from selecting all of Mike McGlinchey, Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel, but not all three of them would necessarily be Giants, either.

San Francisco would've been a better team in 2018, thus pushing the 49ers out of the slots they used to draft Bosa and Samuel. That's a different opportunity cost to consider than trading all of those players straight-up for one of the game's best receivers, but it's one the 49ers probably are glad they didn't have to pay.

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers should trade down both first-round picks

2020 NFL Draft: Why 49ers should trade down both first-round picks

The 49ers had only six picks in the 2020 NFL Draft before trading Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. San Francisco owned the No. 31 pick, and no others until the fifth round.

That trade brought in the No. 13 pick, but the 49ers probably aren't done dealing. Trading down to acquire more, much-needed draft capital is the likeliest scenario.

While much of the 49ers Faithful drool over what the top wide receivers in the draft would look like in coach Kyle Shanahan’s system, it's far from a given that the team will use that first pick on a receiver. For one, the 49ers still don't own any picks in the second, third and fourth rounds. For another, receiver is one of the deepest positions in the draft and the 49ers arguably have a bigger need.

Joe Staley is under contract through the 2021 season, but the veteran left tackle was understandably emotional after the 49ers' loss in Super Bowl LIV. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey indirectly indicated that Staley’s decision to return for the 2020 season was not set in stone.

The 49ers would be best served in hedging their bet that Staley returns and using one of their first-round picks on a left tackle. Even if Staley returns, the 49ers will need a replacement for him in the not-so-distant future. 

The draft's top tackles likely will be taken before the 49ers' first pick, but there still should be quality options available in the 20s or later. The 49ers could trade down, while Houston's Josh Jones or USC's Austin Jackson is still available, and then acquire another pick.

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Let's say trading the No. 13 pick nets the 49ers a first- and early second-round pick. Dealing the No. 31 pick would also come into play.

The 49ers drafted Deebo Samuel No. 36 overall in 2019. Samuel proved to be very productive in Shanahan’s system, catching 57 of his 81 targets for 802 yards. He ranked second on the team in receiving yards only behind First Team All-Pro tight end George Kittle. 

Shanahan's staff had an advantage in getting to know Samuel while at the Senior Bowl, but they have shown that a second-round receiver can become a key contributor. 

[RELATED: Buckner's exit could influence 49ers to trade down in draft]

Hall of Fame coach Jimmy Johnson's draft trade value chart lists the No. 31 pick as worth a mid-second-round pick and a high third-round pick or a high second-round pick and a mid-fourth-round pick, among other permutations. Trading both first-round picks could give the 49ers three additional picks in rounds where they currently have none.

The 49ers would end draft weekend with nine selections in this scenario, as opposed to their original six. They'd also have fresh, valuable talent at important positions on their roster.