The San Francisco 49ers appear to have found their answer at the quarterback position. It has only been two starts (and three plays against the Seattle Seahawks), but Jimmy Garoppolo is off to a strong start. He has thrown for more yards in his first two starts than any previous 49ers quarterback, and the team has won back-to-back games for the first time since 2014.
The 49ers will get a better handle on Garoppolo these final three games against better teams. I think plenty of people here would be comfortable with a sizable contract extension sooner rather than later, but there is still some time for that to get sorted out.
We are doing a theme week around the SB Nation NFL blogs discussing who is the one player each team can’t afford to lose. At this rate, Jimmy Garoppolo has quickly emerged as that person. There are arguments for other players, particularly Reuben Foster, Joe Staley, and DeForest Buckner, but a franchise quarterback is the most valuable player a team can have.
That being said, I got an interesting query this morning on Twitter. Someone asked if 49ers fans would deal Garoppolo for the Cleveland Browns two first round picks in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Faithful. J.G for the @Browns 2 2018 first round picks.? 100% right?— Daniel Sarabia (@danielsarabia14) December 13, 2017
The Browns have their own pick, likely to be No. 1, and then the Houston Texans pick, which has a strong chance of being in the top five. It would provide the 49ers an opportunity to add two potential big time impact players, and yet, I would not do the deal.
I imagine most people would not do that deal. Even with two first round picks that high, I would need considerably more to consider trading Garoppolo. We don’t know if he is going to be the 49ers guy for the next decade, but all signs point up thus far.
Garoppolo is not a “sure” thing, but he’s more of a sure thing than a college quarterback is right now. Garoppolo has nearly four full seasons in the NFL, and while he only has four starts under his belt, he spent over three seasons getting mentored by Tom Brady. No college quarterback can match what Garoppolo has in his favor right now.
The 49ers are not going to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, but I do find myself wondering what exactly it would take to deal him. In thinking it through, the best I could come up with is a minimum of three first round picks, and potentially a fourth. The reason for that? It opens the door to potentially sending one or two of those picks to Washington for Kirk Cousins if they elect to franchise him. That leaves the 49ers with a potential answer at quarterback, along with one or two first round picks. Effectively, the 49ers would have traded a second round pick for Kirk Cousins and a couple first round picks.
Jimmy Garoppolo has more upside than Kirk Cousins at this point, but getting someone like Cousins and a couple first round picks out of all this is really the only way I could see a trade working for the 49ers. Dealing Garoppolo for a couple firsts and then drafting a rookie quarterback sets things back considerably given the development time for a rookie quarterback. It is entirely possible a franchise stud emerges from this draft, but odds are not exactly high of finding a decade long option. We don’t know for certain that Garoppolo will be that kind of quarterback, but I am much more comfortable betting on Garoppolo right now than I am one of the 2018 rookies.
Given that there is no guarantee the 49ers would end up with Kirk Cousins next offseason, I just don’t see any way this kind of move would be worth that roll of the dice. Jimmy Garoppolo is off to a fantastic start in his 49ers career, and I am plenty happy sticking with him and seeing where this magical, mystery tour takes us!