In 2014, they drafted him. In 2017, they traded him. In 2021, could they be reacquiring him?
Greg Bedard recently said on his podcast that 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo represents the Patriots’ “Plan A” at quarterback, via NBC Sports Bay Area. Bedard characterizes Garoppolo as “far and away” New England’s preferred choice.
Of course, the 49ers would have to make someone else their preferred choice before Garoppolo would be available. Even then, it’s hard to imagine Garoppolo being traded, given that he’s due to make $25 million in 2021. With a shrinking cap and given that Garoppolo has missed 23 games over the last three seasons, it’s impossible to justify paying him the same amount Tom Brady will earn in Tampa Bay.
I’ve previously predicted that the 49ers eventually will cut Garoppolo. The lone caveat to that closed-eyes dart throw comes from the possibility that the 49ers will squeeze him to take less. (Reported interest in Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who’s due to make $17 million this year, could be a precursor to telling Garoppolo he should be making $17 million, too.)
However it plays out, the 49ers surely are discreetly looking for an upgrade. Why wouldn’t they? Of all positions other than kicker and punter, quarterbacks enjoy rules that maximize their ability to stay healthy. Garoppolo has failed to do that.
He also failed to do it in New England, which makes the Patriots’ interest in handing him the keys to the offense a little confusing. Garoppolo had a four-game audition in 2016 during Brady’s #Deflategate suspension, and Garoppolo got hurt in the second game.
It’s also impossible to forget the fact that Garoppolo’s performance in a divisional round win against the Vikings in January 2020 sufficiently freaked out coach Kyle Shanahan to take the ball out of Garoppolo’s hands, going run heavy for the rest of the win over Minnesota and making Garoppolo look like Bob Griese in the NFC Championship, with only eight passes thrown in the 37-20 win over the Packers.
If Garoppolo does indeed return to New England, here’s hoping he’s on the field when the Brady and the Bucs come to town for what will be one of the biggest games of 2021.