Jimmy Garoppolo could've been the heir to Tom Brady's throne after all.
ESPN's Seth Wickersham, author of the recent book "It's Better to Be Feared" about the New England Patriots dynasty, wrote that the team put in a call to the San Francisco 49ers inquiring about the availability their former backup quarterback prior to April's draft.
"New England wondered if a second-rounder would suffice -- calling it even from 2017," Wickersham wrote in the book, a reference to the original deal which shipped Garoppolo to the Bay Area for a second-round pick. "But the 49ers wouldn’t take less than a first."
San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan denied the claim during his media availability Wednesday that he and the Patriots ever had a conversation about Garoppolo.
The 49ers would ultimately hold onto Garoppolo, in addition to using the third overall pick in the draft on quarterback Trey Lance.
New England, meanwhile, snagged Mac Jones at No. 15 overall, the fifth quarterback taken in the first round.
In the early going, it's been advantage Patriots in terms of how the dust has settled. Jones is fourth in the NFL in completion percentage at 70.4, while Garoppolo is 24th at 64.8, and also owns a lower interception rate (2.4 vs. 2.8 for Garoppolo) and a slightly better passer rating (92.8 vs. 90.2).
Despite playing behind a battered offensive line, Jones is also yet to miss a snap due to injury. Garoppolo, meanwhile, missed San Francisco's Week 5 contest against the Arizona Cardinals with a calf injury before returning to throw two interceptions in a 30-18 loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Since the start of the 2018 season, his first full year with the 49ers, Garoppolo has missed 24 of a possible 54 starts due to various ailments; the one season he remained fully healthy, he guided San Francisco to Super Bowl LIV but came up short against the Kansas City Chiefs.