49ers

Why Jimmy G trade looks unlikely as ever after first round

49ers
49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo

After weeks of speculation, it sure seems like Jimmy Garoppolo isn't going anywhere.

Yes, the 49ers drafted his successor Thursday night, selecting North Dakota State quarterback with the Trey Lance No. 3 overall pick. But Lance has all of 17 FCS games under his belt, so he's going to need time to season while learning from Garoppolo.

Even if Lance is ready to start in Week 1, there are no obvious trade fits for Garoppolo after how the first half of the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft shook out.

The Chicago Bears, who play in Garoppolo's home state and for whom he conceivably would've waived his no-trade clause to join, traded up to select Ohio State's Justin Fields with the No. 11 overall pick.

The New England Patriots, who drafted Garoppolo, (begrudgingly) traded him to the 49ers and have been consistently linked to him since the Niners traded up for the No. 3 pick, picked Alabama's Mac Jones at No. 15 overall.

No wonder 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan walked back discussing Garoppolo's mortality when referencing the 29-year-old's future in Santa Clara.

"Jimmy’s situation is, if he isn’t here on Sunday, I would be disappointed because Jimmy is the quarterback who has played one year and taken us to a Super Bowl and played at a very high level,” Shanahan said Thursday in a virtual press conference with reporters.

 

“He’s had some unfortunate injuries, but I believe in Jimmy as a person and he’s shown what he can do on tape.”

Barring injuries in training camp -- always a possibility, if not a likelihood -- and/or the regular season, it's easy to envision Garoppolo on the 49ers' beyond the trade deadline. 

Heck, there aren't many obvious fits for him next offseason.

You can probably rule out the four teams other than the 49ers who drafted QBs in the first round Thursday. The same can be said for the four teams who drafted quarterbacks in the first round last year. Kyler Murray will still be on his rookie deal in 2021, and three teams who drafted first-round QBs in 2018 still seem pretty damn committed to theirs: Baker Mayfield, Josh Allen and Lamar Jackson all have or will have their fifth-year options picked up.

Beyond those 12 teams, are the Seattle Seahawks going to grab Garoppolo as long as they have Russell Wilson? Are the Dallas Cowboys going to replace Dak Prescott with Garoppolo? Will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers jettison Tom Brady -- assuming he doesn't retire -- for his former backup? The Los Angeles Rams just traded for Matthew Stafford, while the Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings are committed to Ryan Tannehill and Kirk Cousins, respectively.

Perhaps the Denver Broncos move for Garoppolo if Teddy Bridgewater doesn't work out, or the Washington Football Team acquires another former 49ers starter as theirs following Alex Smith's retirement. The Houston Texans could conceivably part ways with Deshaun Watson, Ben Roethlisberger doesn't seem like he'll be a Pittsburgh Steeler for too much longer and the New Orleans Saints are taking a wait-and-see approach with Jameis Winston (Taysom Hill is older than Garoppolo and, more importantly, not a quarterback).

Then again, what's stopping any of these aforementioned teams from drafting a QB in 2022?

RELATED: Lance was always Shanahan, 49ers' target 'from Day 1'

Between the 49ers already drafting their QB of the future, Garoppolo's injury history, no-trade clause and $24.2 million base salary in the last year of his contract in 2022, the Niners could have even less trade leverage for Garoppolo than they do now.

Of course, if Garoppolo goes Full Nick Foles and wins Super Bowl LVI next February in Los Angeles, the 49ers would be dealing from a more advantageous position. That might only be by a matter of degrees, but San Francisco won't complain about trade value if Garoppolo's send-off season ends with a Vince Lombardi Trophy.

After Thursday, it seems far more likely Garoppolo gets that chance than it did entering the draft.

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