Everybody has an opinion on how this offseason’s quarterback market will shake out, and while it is amusing to hear what The Game has to say on it, there are slightly more valuable resources in the media.
Former NFL executive Mike Lombardi recently made an appearance with Bill Simmons on The Ringer podcast. They discussed the various players available via free agency and trade, and wrapped it up with discussion about Jimmy Garoppolo. Simmons is a Patriots fan, while Lombardi has extensive connections to Bill Belichick. Lombardi served as pro personnel director and then director of player personnel when Belichick was head coach of the Cleveland Browns. More recently, Lombardi served as an assistant to the coaching staff from 2014 to 2016.
On the podcast, Lombardi said he does not expect a trade to happen. He clarified that this was not based on talking to Belichick, but rather, “I just know the feeling of it.” He admitted he could be wrong, but he does not see it happening.
Simmons went for the hypothetical, asking him where Lombardi thinks Garoppolo would end up if he was in fact traded. Earlier in the interview, Lombardi had said he does not see him going to the Houston Texans. He talked about how you don’t trade a player unless you know exactly what he is. He talked about Bill knowing what Jimmy is, and, “I think that’s why he wouldn’t trade him to Houston.” He talked about Matt Cassel going to Kansas City and Simmons brought up Drew Bledsoe getting dealt within the division. In both instances, Lombardi pointed out that the Patriots were comfortable with the two quarterbacks as competitors, whereas in this instance they would not want to face Garoppolo in the AFC playoffs.
Simmons asked him if not the Patriots then where. Lombardi said he thinks it would be the San Francisco 49ers.
“Because I know for a fact that when I was in Cleveland for the little bit of time, then when I left and went to New England, Kyle Shanahan, whom we hired, came in, and he loved Garoppolo. Loved him. So, I would think they would have enough assets in San Francisco to make that work.”
Earlier this month, Shanahan confirmed previous rumors that he had ranked Derek Carr and Jimmy Garoppolo as his top two quarterback prospects in 2014. Shanahan was Browns offensive coordinator that year, and the Browns decision to select Johnny Manziel over Carr and Garoppolo contributed to Shanahan’s decision to leave after one year.
We have heard plenty about Kirk Cousins being the guy Shanahan would make a run for, but maybe Garoppolo is the option. Bill Belichick and GM John Lynch reportedly have a good relationship, and getting Garoppolo out of the AFC could be what the Patriots look to do. The Chicago Bears are the other notable NFC option, and both the Bears and 49ers have significant draft assets to deal and cap space to get an extension done with Garoppolo.