Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jed York recalls the night the 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo

Jan 28, 2020 at 7:10 AM--

The trade for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was a turning point for the San Francisco 49ers. The team had lost eight games before the New England Patriots called on October 30, 2017, the night before Halloween.

A month later, Garoppolo started preparing for his first start with his new team. He rattled off five straight wins, and the 49ers finished the season 6-10 but had a lot of hope heading into the next season.

Obviously, the 49ers fell short of their aspirations in 2018, thanks in large part to a season-ending injury to Garoppolo. But it set the team up to draft high and further improve, and now, San Francisco is in the Super Bowl.

CEO Jed York joined the Adam Schefter Podcast this week and recalled that night when the 49ers pulled off the trade for Garoppolo. He was Washington D.C. when the Patriots called general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan. The two then contacted York and told him they might have a chance to acquire Garoppolo.

That was huge because earlier in the year, before the draft, the 49ers had reached out to the Patriots about Garoppolo. The always blunt head coach, Bill Belichick, quickly turned them away. So York wasn't getting his hopes up this time around.

Still, York assured Lynch and Shanahan that he was still on board.

"It was like, 'Alright, look, we were all-in before. It's not like something has changed,'" York told Schefter. "But I was considering, 'Do you want me to stay here? Do you want me to fly up to Boston? It's fairly easy to fly up to Boston from Washington D.C., and we can fly him out. Let me know what we're doing.'

"It happened relatively quickly because I think Coach Belichick is obviously a no-nonsense guy, and I think Kyle prides himself on being like that. I think that's why it's been fairly easy for us to do deals with New England because it's just pretty straight-forward, and here-you-go. And they made the offer, and we accepted, and it went from there."

There was a lot of excitement in the building following the trade. After all, York, Lynch, and Shanahan knew they couldn't reach their goal without a franchise quarterback, and now they had one. But they didn't want to just throw Garoppolo into games without allowing him to be comfortable in his new environment and within his new offense.

So Shanahan and the 49ers waited.

"We had that conversation of even if he doesn't take a snap this season because he's not ready, we don't want to put him in a situation where he's not ready," York said. "And Kyle was very clear on that. ... If we need to franchise him next year, and he never takes a snap for us, it's worth it because if you have a quarterback, then you actually have a chance.

"We had those conversations, but by the time it became clear several weeks later that Jimmy was doing really well at practice and starting to pick up the offense, that's when Kyle decided to pull the trigger.

"I was more than comfortable if Jimmy didn't take a snap, and we tried to tell Jimmy -- we did tell Jimmy that. We said, 'Look, you're not auditioning here. You're going to be our guy even if you don't take a snap. Don't worry about it.'

"I think that lowered the water level a bit for everybody to allow him to just be comfortable and be himself."

The 49ers are preparing to play the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in Super Bowl LIV.

Click here to listen to the entire episode of the Adam Schefter Podcast. The interview with York kicks off at about the 2:30 mark.

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