Here’s another obvious conclusion that flows from Monday night’s stunning trade of Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers: Not only are the 49ers done with quarterback Brian Hoyer completely, but they’re also done with C.J. Beathard as a potential quarterback of the future.
Beathard, a third-round pick in 2017, started only two games for the 49ers. But that apparently was enough to get Shanahan to conclude that the rookie from Iowa won’t be better than a largely unproven career backup, who got injured during what was supposed to be a four-game audition for a starting job elsewhere in 2016, during Tom Brady‘s suspension.
And that leads to a question that surely will be answered, sooner than later. Who made the first move?
Did the Patriots see an opportunity to move Garropolo and get, indirectly, former Patriots backup Brian Hoyer to serve as Tom Brady’s understudy? Or did the 49ers, in a fit of frustration and an overwhelming sense of helplessness and futility, target Garoppolo as achieving a small victory in a season full of losses?
Either way, the move means not only that the 49ers aren’t sold on Beathard as a potential franchise quarterback but also that they didn’t believe any of the top quarterbacks in the 2018 draft will be the answer.
Before slamming the door entirely on that possibility, remember this: The 49ers also could decide that Garoppolo isn’t the guy, letting him walk away and getting credit for his departure in the compensatory draft-pick formula as of 2019. If they’d get a third-rounder for Garoppolo leaving in free agency, that would offset the 2018 second-rounder that have given up for him in order to get what could turn out to be a half-season rental and an exclusive opportunity to evaluate a potential franchise quarterback.