Jimmy Garoppolo rumors: Hypothetical 49ers-Patriots trade for QB

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Darren Hartwell
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Here's a hypothetical Patriots-49ers trade for Jimmy Garoppolo originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The San Francisco 49ers are playing hardball on the Jimmy Garoppolo front ... for now.

Niners general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan recently insisted they plan to keep the 29-year-old quarterback despite trading up to the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, where they seem destined to select his replacement.

San Francisco could stick with Garoppolo as its starter and let the rookie develop for a season. But if said rookie emerges as the 49ers' QB of the future, it's hard to imagine the team paying Garoppolo $25 million to be a backup.

Patriots Talk Podcast: Jimmy G holds the leverage in San Fran. What's that mean for the Patriots? | Listen & Subscribe | Watch on YouTube

So, what would it cost a team like, say, the New England Patriots to land Jimmy G? The MMQB's Albert Breer reported the Niners are seeking a first-round pick. Considering Garoppolo has missed nearly half of San Francisco's games since the Patriots gave him up for a second-rounder in 2017, that seems steep.

NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco laid out a more realistic scenario using an interesting trade comparison: Alex Smith.

In January 2018, the Kansas City Chiefs sent Smith to Washington for cornerback Kendall Fuller and a 2018 third-round draft pick. The move paved the way for Patrick Mahomes in Kansas City after Mahomes spent his rookie year backing up Smith.

Using that blueprint, Maiocco laid out a potential deal to send Garoppolo back to New England.

If the 49ers were to get a similar price for Garoppolo with the Patriots, one scenario would be for them to acquire defensive end Chase Winovich, who was chosen with a third-round pick in 2019, and a third-round draft pick (No. 96 overall).

Matt Maiocco, NBC Sports Bay Area

Winovich has 11 sacks through his first two seasons and has upside as a talented pass rusher. But you'd have to think the Patriots would consider this deal to reunite with Garoppolo, who despite his injury history would be an upgrade over Cam Newton in New England. The Patriots also paid up for edge defender Matthew Judon this offseason, which would make Winovich more expendable.

Perry: What might it cost for Patriots to land Garoppolo?

The 49ers may not view Smith -- who was 33 at the time of his trade -- as an equal comparison to Garoppolo. But they're bound to move on from Garoppolo's massive contract at some point, and landing an impact player and a third-round pick would be decent value for an injury-prone QB approaching 30.

The Patriots would need to do some serious cap maneuvering to make such a deal work (as our Phil Perry explained recently), but it's an interesting thought experiment as New England mulls its options at QB.