Following an injury-shortened 2020 season, the future of Jimmy Garoppolo in a San Francisco 49ers uniform has been a point of contention for months considering a trade could net the team between $23-25 million in salary cap savings this year. With Texans superstar Deshaun Watson having requested a trade out of Houston, the speculation of a Watson-Garoppolo swap has only grown more rampant.
The latest to connect the dots between the two teams and quarterbacks is longtime NFL reporter Peter King of NBC Sports. In his latest Football Morning in America column on Monday, King detailed a handful of proposals aimed toward suitors around the league who could be in a position to land the three-time Pro Bowler.
Among the hypotheticals were a pair of potential deals involving the 49ers, including a convoluted three-way trade involving an NFC foe and another unexpected Pro Bowl passer.
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Kirk Cousins to the 49ers? Watson to the Vikings?
Rather than “rip apart a team and a future,” King floated the idea of the Niners getting the Minnesota Vikings involved in a blockbuster deal that would send three quarterbacks to new teams in 2021. Here is where the pieces would land, according to King:
All in all, San Francisco would wind up with Cousins under center next season (and potentially 2022), a soon-to-be 29-year-old Barr coming off of a torn pectoral , and a promising third-year running back in Mattison at the cost of Garoppolo and the 12th overall pick in April’s draft. Entering his age 33 campaign, Cousins comes with respective $31 million and $45 million cap hits for the upcoming two seasons, made more tolerable by the savings left behind by Garoppolo. That is, of course, if he even waived his no-trade clause in the first place.
While acknowledging that the scenario is a “wing and a prayer,” King arrived at the offer on the premise that the 49ers “might be willing to take a lesser deal for a quarterback [head coach Kyle] Shanahan has long admired.”
If that seems too complicated, especially by NFL trade standards, it is. However, King also provided a more traditional, albeit lopsided seven-for-one proposal between the 49ers and Texans. In exchange for Watson, the respected scribe suggests that the Niners could need to part with Garoppolo, All-Pro LB Fred Warner , first-round OT Mike McGlinchey , first-round picks in 2021 (12th overall) and 2022, plus a second-round pick in 2021 and third-round pick in 2022 for Watson.
All of this may be moot, however, as the Texans have told inquiring teams that Watson is not available for trade, according to NFL insider Benjamin Allbright last week.
John Lynch, Kyle Shanahan ‘Expect’ Garoppolo to Return
San Francisco general manager John Lynch did his best to pour cold water on the smoke surrounding the Garoppolo chatter during the team’s season-ending media availability, suggesting that No. 10 will be under center this coming fall.
“Kyle and I have both spoken and spoken fairly directly, as to the fact we expect Jimmy to be our quarterback,” Lynch said on January 4, via NBC Sports Bay Area .
That same day, Garoppolo himself shared his own perspective on the situation.
“I honestly haven’t put too much thought into it,” Garoppolo told reporters, via 49ersWebZone.com . “All those things get said, but at the end of the day, I’m a 49er. I’m here to play quarterback. I’m here to be the quarterback of this team and every day I go out there and try to prove that to my teammates and my coaches. At the end of the day, that’s what really matters. … John and Kyle, I think they’ve talked to the media and said what they’ve said, and I love those guys for it. Yeah, this is where I want to be and I love it here.”
With free agency set to open on the first official day of the new league year on March 17, the 49ers currently rank in the middle of the pack in terms of cap space with approximately $20.4 million, per Spotrac based on a projected $185 million team cap. Despite a number of key free agents set to hit the open market, there are still plenty of ways to make the financials work while keeping Jimmy G in the fold.
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