In his latest Unbuttoned podcast, Chris Simms spent a good portion speaking about what the San Francisco 49ers could potentially do on draft weekend and leading up to the draft. Simms was sure to reference his buddy Kyle Shanahan while he made the Niners case to pick Mac Jones third overall.
Simms insisted that Jones is the most pro-ready QB, and the 49ers couldn’t afford to trade up for a “project.” At the end of his Jones rant, around the 18:40 mark, Sims said:
I think it is Mac Jones at 3. And I think, eventually, we see Jimmy Garoppolo get traded on draft weekend or before draft weekend.
Simms continued on his Jones tangent before getting to Garoppolo:
If I’m in Shanahan’s shoes, I go, wait, what was my best year as an offensive coordinator? Oh, that’s right, when I had Matt Ryan. I have everything in my offense that’s kind of Atlanta-y. Good o-line. Good receivers. Some explosive running backs. What am I missing? Oh yeah, I’m missing Matt Ryan. I like QBs like Matt Ryan. There’s a QB in this draft who plays just like Matt Ryan. If you give me more than two cracks at with him, I’m winning the Super Bowl.
His co-host pushed back about Garoppolo being a backup as a worst-case scenario. Here’s how Simms responded:
I don’t think Jimmy Garoppolo is your favorite backup in the world because he gets injured. I always go back to the framing of your team conversation. This is a guy in Jimmy G that has some stakes in the locker room. The guys like him. There’s a culture that has been formed around there and he’s been a big part of it.
To me, you do endanger dividing the locker room a little bit that way when you have that kind of presence. As much as the guys are going to be like they buy into Mac Jones they’ll still be like, ‘man, I like Jimmy.’ He’s our guy. He got me the ball. He’s cool. I like the way he acts, or whatever.
That can be an issue for a football team. I think that’s one thing to look at.
That locker room dynamic is an interesting one that we have yet to consider. You just spent four years trying to build a family-like atmosphere in the locker room. You risk all of that hard work going down the drain the minute a rookie QB comes in and potentially plays well.
Simms continued, this time mentioning the salary cap. He said the 49ers have made it this far with Jimmy under the salary cap but believes getting rid of his cap hit would free up the team to sign a potential free agent — he mentioned Jadeveon Clowney as an example — or acquire another player via trade. Stephon Gilmore, anyone?
Simms also said Garoppolo being a starting quarterback would be another reason why he’s potentially moved. The Niners could pit teams in need of a quarterback against each other and get a better deal than they had initially hoped.
Unless they trade up, New England, Chicago, Carolina, and Washington could be on the outside looking in for a starting quarterback. San Francisco may not have been able to get a Day 2 pick for Jimmy G a month ago, but come draft weekend, Garoppolo’s value will be at an all-time high in a league thirsty for starting quarterbacks.
That, among other obvious reasons, is why it’s likely Garoppolo is moved before May.