The San Francisco 49ers shocked the NFL world on October 30th when they sent a second round pick to the New England Patriots for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. There had been Garoppolo trade rumors during the offseason, but nothing ever materialized, and people figured his situation would not be resolved until the 2018 offseason.
A few days after the trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter chatted with KNBR, and he offered this thoughts on why he thought the deal went down. He talked about the respect Bill Belichick has for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, and thought the best way to do right by Garoppolo was sending him to Santa Clara. Schefter said that effectively he did the 49ers a solid in doing this deal.
Yesterday, Schefter was back on KNBR, and he offered some more thoughts. He couched it as him theorizing given we don’t have all the facts and both teams have clammed up publicly about it. My guess is this is a step above speculation and more of an educated speculation.
“We don’t know this, so I’m theorizing here, but that trade fell into their laps. And it fell into their laps, I believe, in large part because Bill Belichick and the Patriots organization had as much respect and good feeling for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan as they did. Because the Cleveland Browns had been calling the Patriots last spring over and over. They tried apparently this fall and never got to first base with them. And then Monday morning, the day before the trade deadline October 30th, 49ers just sitting there, and the Patriots call.
“Patriots: 'I think we're open to trading Jimmy G. You want him? Interested?'
“And that trade takes all of five minutes to agree to because the Patriots came to that point. Now, again, the 49ers are in the right conference, out of conference, but I'm telling you, I believe in my heart that the respect that Bill Belichick had for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan factored into the decision to make that call to that place that morning.
“Now look, it didn’t drive, ultimately, you've got to get what you think is fair compensation but the time was right, New England had made the decision that they had to move on, and when it looked out at the landscape of NFL teams, I think they liked and respected the people with the 49ers organization. And, as much respect as the Patriots have for Jimmy Garoppolo, they wanted to place him in a place that they thought would treat him the way that they thought he should be treated, and that was the 49ers."
The Cleveland Browns have been looking for a franchise quarterback pretty much since Tim Couch didn’t work out. It is not surprising they would push hard, and given the turmoil in Cleveland, it’s not surprising Belichick would not want to send them a respected player like Garoppolo. We heard after the 49ers first win with Garoppolo starting that Patriots players and coaches were excited for him. Clearly they wanted him to end up in a good situation if it was not going to be in New England.
The interview is a good one because prior to his discussion of the Garoppolo trade, Schefter discussed how Lynch has worked out well for the 49ers, and the respect he has around the league. Lynch had no front office experience prior to this job, but he has surrounded himself with quality football people, and has a head coach who knows what he’s doing. Together, Lynch and Shanahan form a team that is generally respected around the league.
Garoppolo-type deals (2nd round pick for potential franchise cornerstone) won’t happen often, and maybe nothing like this ever happens again. But for trade purposes and free agency negotiations in the future, the 49ers seem to be in a particularly strong position moving forward.