Curran: Nothing's cooking yet between Pats and Niners on Jimmy G originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
If you’re working feverishly to get a giant “WELCOME HOME, JIMMY G!!!” banner done by the morning, you can stand down.
Despite a report earlier Wednesday evening that the Patriots were “working on a new contract for Jimmy G that could lead to a deal with the 49ers," I was told by a well-placed source “that is not happening.”
Could it happen? The source confirmed that it could at some point but also cautioned about putting the cart ahead of the horse. Because, inevitable as it may seem that Garoppolo is going to land back in New England, there’s a false sense of urgency descending because of the draft and Wednesday’s deal that sent Teddy Bridgewater to Denver.
In truth, the Niners are much better off keeping Garoppolo for a while. First, they need to make sure whoever they draft actually shows aptitude for NFL football and the system of head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Second, the Niners have a Super Bowl-caliber team. Their situation mirrors that of the Patriots in the spring of 2017. Back then, New England refused to trade Garoppolo because they worried that if Tom Brady got hurt or his play cratered, they would have moved on from a highly-capable backup and murdered their chance of competing for a Super Bowl sans Brady.
Third, and this is where the 2017 comparison to New England veers, the Niners have so demolished Garoppolo’s trade value with their offseason moves and awkward messaging that it makes no sense to deal him when his return is quite likely to be tiny.
The source I spoke with predicted that, come Thursday morning, the phone of Niners GM John Lynch will blow up with teams kicking the tires and expressing interest. The Patriots among them.
But there’s a good reason for that. Every one of the league’s 32 personnel men is charged with making calls and getting information. That’s the job. And a lot of these guys won’t likely be doing it for 10 years so might as well get on the horn and act like a GM. Also, when their owner asks, “Did we call on Player X?” the answer, “Gee, I didn’t think it was something I needed to do…” won’t be a winning response.
Currently, the market for Garoppolo doesn’t appear strong. The only teams that could swallow his $24.1M salary whole are Jacksonville and the Jets. And they are picking Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson Thursday night. Denver took themselves out of the veteran QB market when they dealt Wednesday for Bridgewater.
The Patriots are the only obvious suitor. San Francisco, in order to even approach their somewhat absurd initial asking price of a first-round pick for Garoppolo, would need a little competition for his services.
And that would likely require them sweetening the pot by agreeing to take on some of Garoppolo’s 2021 salary as the Panthers did when they dealt Bridgewater. So there are a lot of dominoes that have to fall before Garoppolo is out of San Fran. The Shanahan-Lynch pairing has shown themselves to be a little impetuous so maybe Garoppolo does wind up with another team by Monday. But for all the reasons listed above, the urgency to make the move ASAP really isn’t there.