The San Francisco 49ers sent shockwaves across the NFL on Friday when they struck a trade that puts them in perfect position to land a franchise quarterback.
For those who missed the news, they moved up nine spots in the draft to No. 3 overall, shipping the No. 12 overall pick, a 2023 first-rounder and a 2022 third-rounder to the Miami Dolphins to complete the blockbuster.
And as the news broke, Bill Belichick fired off one singular lick of his lips.
Strangely enough, this deal could position the New England Patriots to land their potential quarterback of the future. After all, they reportedly kicked the tires on bringing Jimmy Garoppolo back this offseason, and you have to think this deal caught their attention.
The 49ers clearly regret giving Garoppolo, who’s appeared in more than six games just once over his four years on the west coast, a five-year, $137.5 million contract. Though San Francisco insisted Josh Rosen-style on Friday that Jimmy G is still their guy, sooner or later the 49ers are going to try to unload him.
Assuming that happens, the Patriots, who reportedly aren’t done adding to their QB room, would have the greatest odds to land him. Frankly, it wouldn’t be all that close.
With that in mind, let’s try to iron out what a trade for the former second-round pick might look like now that the Pats have a bit more leverage.
What should the Patriots give up for Jimmy Garoppolo after the 49ers traded up to draft a quarterback?
It’s worth noting that the Patriots shouldn’t push all of their chips to the table during the initial rounds of negotiations, as the 49ers lost most of the leverage they had over Garoppolo when they completed this mega deal. Why else do you think insiders are reporting that they plan on keeping him for the duration of next season?
Because they’re feeling the pressure. Taking that into account, the Patriots shouldn’t budge on anything more than a second or third-round draft pick. Let’s not forget that they already have Cam Newton lined up to be the starter. A trade for Garoppolo is hardly a be-all, end-all solution.
As for Garoppolo’s trade value, a second or third-round selection might not seem like much, but it’s pretty accurate. It’s duly noted that he helped lead the 49ers to a 13-3 record and ultimately a Super Bowl appearance in 2019, but everybody knows he was mostly a game manager during that run.
For context, that season, he finished with a lackluster 60.8 QBR. Without an elite defense and robust rushing attack to set up play action and keep opposing defenses honest, who knows how far San Francisco would have advanced in the playoffs, if at all?
There’s a debate to be had over whether the Patriots should exercise aggression and try to trade for Garoppolo, or if they should attempt to call the 49ers’ bluff and wait for him to be released if they fail to find a trade partner.
However, if head coach (and de facto GM) Bill Belichick has any reservations about Newton’s ability to lead this new-and-improved roster to the playoffs, then he might have no other choice but to get the 49ers on the phone. After all, a second or third-round pick isn’t a steep price to pay for your potential QB of the future, regardless of how injury prone he might be.