For what it’s worth, the San Francisco 49ers are certainly saying all the right things following their trade with the Miami Dolphins which vaulted them from #12 to the 3rd overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but we all know what it means.
The Niners aren’t planning to stick with starter Jimmy Garoppolo for the long-term, and you can’t blame them.
Garoppolo’s struggles to stay on the field have neem the biggest issue since the Niners acquired him during a trade deadline deal with the New England Patriots a few years back, and even when Garoppolo can play, he hasn’t established himself as the unquestioned elite franchise quarterback that San Francisco was initially hoping for.
Now, the 49ers are locked in at selecting the heir to Garoppolo’s starting job in next month’s draft.
“We’re in a situation where when you bring in a rookie quarterback, to me it’s always better, especially on the team that you have, if you’ve got a veteran starter there already who you like and you’re comfortable winning with, that’s usually the direction you want to go,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said, according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. “And not throw someone else out into the fire until they’re fully ready, and that’s the situation we’re at. … I think Jimmy, it’s going to be hard to find a quarterback who gives us a better chance to win than Jimmy right now, especially even a rookie in the draft. …
“Now, if someone wanted (to give) something for (Garoppolo) and it could make our team better in a lot of other ways, you listen to that, but it also depends on how good you feel about that rookie. And we’re not there yet right now. Odds are, we probably won’t be. That’s why we’re happy that we don’t have to be that way. We’ve got a guy in here who we know we can win with, a guy our players love, that we love and we’re excited to have him this year, and we’re excited to have a hell of a quarterback right behind him learning for when the time is his.”
So, the 49ers aren’t really outright saying they are looking to trade Garoppolo, but they are strongly hinting at it.
“It’s been tough the two years he’s missed, it’s been hard to compete the same way,” Shanahan said. “So, we knew we had to look into that this year.”
“We felt pretty strongly we were gonna get left at the altar sitting there at 12,” Shanahan said. “There are five guys that are kind of at this party a little bit, and people are talking about them going everywhere. They’re all over in the first round. Our feeling is these guys were going to go a lot higher than people realize.”
“We went to ownership and said, ‘Hey, things are looking good. We’d like to make this move, but we also don’t want to say goodbye to Jimmy,'” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “It was a stated goal that we needed to come out with the quarterback position being stronger this year, and I think we’ve put ourselves in an opportunity to make that happen with this move.”
As the writing on the wall become more bold that Jimmy G is no longer the future in San Francisco, Shanahan said he understood things may have pissed off their current starter.
“I’m sure Jimmy was a little pissed off from it, just like I would be, too,” Shanahan said. “The more mad Jimmy gets, usually the better he gets. (If) Jimmy just gets madder and stays healthy, this is going to be a good thing for Jimmy, too, which could be a great problem for the 49ers.”
Now, the 49ers have to hope that all of this pays off by selecting the right quarterback next month.