While the Patriots have been linked with virtually every one of the quarterbacks projected to go near the top of this week’s NFL draft, an alternative scenario remains where New England finds a new signal-caller in a separate trade.
Speculation has continued that Jimmy Garoppolo, who led the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV, might become available after San Francisco traded up in March to get the third overall pick. Since the 49ers are expected to use the pick to select a quarterback, it would (eventually) leave the 29-year-old Garoppolo without a starting job.
New England, which originally picked Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 draft, has been seen as a likely trade partner. The 49ers reportedly have “no plans to trade” Garoppolo, and Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer noted in late March that it would likely require a first-round pick to acquire him.
Yet in his most recent “Football Morning in America” column, NFL insider Peter King believes that the 49ers might lower the price on Garoppolo.
“It won’t surprise me if the Niners make Jimmy Garoppolo more available than he’s been,” wrote King. “In other words, instead of trying to get a first-round pick for him, maybe considering taking a two for him. I wonder if the Patriots would deal the 46th pick in the draft, or their second-rounder in 2022, for their old friend.”
The terms of a potential deal along those lines might sound familiar, since the Patriots originally dealt Garoppolo to the 49ers in 2018 for a second-round pick.
An issue for any team trying to trade for Garoppolo in 2021 is his contract, which (in its current version) would amount to a total cap hit of $26 million.
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