Kyle Shanahan’s bizarre comments about Jimmy Garoppolo could open door for Patriots reunion

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Henry McKenna
·3 min read
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The San Francisco 49ers are in an uncomfortable position with Jimmy Garoppolo. The quarterback, who led them to a Super Bowl appearance, will have a challenger at the quarterback position after the 2021 NFL draft. And it won’t be a fair fight.

The San Francisco 49ers traded up to the third overall pick where they are likely to pick either Alabama quarterback Mac Jones or North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance. The impending quarterback battle probably won’t end well for Garoppolo. Surely, he’ll lose his job to the rookie at some point — and perhaps as quickly as Week 1. That’s why teams have shown interest in trading for Garoppolo. The New England Patriots are among those teams, per ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was asked if he can guarantee Garoppolo will be on the team when the NFL draft concludes.

“I can’t guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday so I can’t guarantee who will be on our roster on Sunday,” Shanahan said in a news conference.

First of all: Dark.

Really dark. You didn’t have to go full Thanos. Has anyone checked on Jimmy to see if he’s OK?

Second of all: I saw this coming. No, not the weird, morbid commentary. The uncertainty with Garoppolo. At risk of getting my shoulder sore with all the back-patting, I’ll reiterate what I’ve written here and said on our podcast. Patience will pay dividends for any team that wants Garoppolo. The 49ers postured and pretended they had leverage to ask for a first-round pick, but ultimately, the draft will erase all that leverage, especially if the 49ers take Jones, a player touted to be pro-ready. San Francisco probably likes the idea of having Garoppolo on the roster to act as a bridge quarterback. But the inevitable will happen: he’ll lose the starting job and his value will fade to nothing by 2022.

The longer the 49ers wait, the less like they are to get a decent return. That’s why the draft is probably the perfect intersection of value, where San Francisco will probably accept a reasonable return (NBC Sports’ Peter King suggested the 49ers could send Garoppolo to the Patriots for a 2nd rounder) and a potential buyer (like Bill Belichick) will meet those lowered demands because they’ll have a full offseason to work him into a starting role.

Shanahan’s quote on Monday seemed like an indication that the 49ers are being realistic about Garoppolo’s future. That’s important for a team like the Patriots, who probably want him — but don’t need him. They can afford to wait until 2022 when the 49ers will likely cut him for salary cap purposes, and he’ll be free to sign wherever in free agency. But if San Francisco’s asking price is within reason, Belichick could go after the player he has always admired.

List

One potential Patriots' target at QB in each round of the 2021 NFL Draft