49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s days in San Francisco are obviously numbered. With 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance waiting in the wings to take the helm of the franchise, all signs are pointing to the Niners moving on from Garoppolo.
Garoppolo has been one of the most enigmatic quarterbacks in the NFL throughout his career with the 49ers. For that reason, speculating what he could recoup in a trade remains difficult to triangulate. Starting quarterbacks in the NFL routinely net first-round picks in trades. Even players like Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold, who were each coming off the worst seasons of their respective careers, were traded for significant draft capital. However, that same offseason, Teddy Bridgewater was traded for just a sixth-round pick despite costing far less than either one.
As writers and analysts try to predict how things will shake out this offseason, ESPN conducted a simulated offseason for starting quarterbacks. Each team’s beat writer acted as their team’s general manager, making trade offers and ultimately deciding what deals they would make. Four writers made offers for Garoppolo: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Commanders, Carolina Panthers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
These were their respective offers:
Buccaneers: 2022 second-rounder for Garoppolo
Commanders: 2022 third-rounder, 2023 fourth-rounder for Garoppolo
Panthers: 2022 fourth-rounder, 2023 second-rounder for Garoppolo
Steelers: 2022 third-rounder, 2023 sixth-rounder for Garoppolo (with SF retaining 50% of his salary)
ESPN’s 49ers beat writer Nick Wagoner ultimately opted to send Garoppolo to Tampa Bay for the 60th overall pick in this year’s draft. Wagoner lamented that he was hoping to recoup a future mid-round pick alongside a high pick in 2022 but acknowledged that he viewed a second-rounder as a fair price.
Personally, I would lean towards accepting the Panthers’ offer if these were the 49ers' final options. While San Francisco would not get a second-round pick until next year, I’m skeptical Carolina will improve much on their 5-12 record next season. In addition, the Panthers’ fourth-round pick in this year’s draft is 106th overall (the third-highest in the round) and would leave the Niners with a second, two thirds, and two fourth-round picks on Day 2 of this year’s draft. Plus, the 49ers would then have control of two seconds and three third-round picks in 2023.
For more details on the reasoning each writer gave for their offer, or where star quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson ended up in ESPN’s simulation, you can check that out in the full piece.