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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Albert Breer: 49ers may have suitors for No. 31 pick, Jimmy Garoppolo may be ‘on the clock’

Mar 9, 2020 at 11:54 AM--

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There's always a lot to unpack within the features over at The MMQB. Albert Breer's more recent contribution is no exception. The San Francisco 49ers own one pick in the first four rounds of next month's NFL Draft — the No. 31 overall pick. While at the end of the round, it is still a first-round selection, and the senior reporter sees it as more valuable than others might.

The 49ers could be looking to trade down in order to pick up some more draft equity, and keep from just sitting around and doing nothing during Day 2 of the draft. Breer believes that, even at the end of the round, San Francisco could have suitors.

"Outside all the Brady hysteria…. Looking forward at the 49ers' offseason, thanks to the Dee Ford and Emmanuel Sanders trades, John Lynch and Co. have no picks between the first and fifth rounds," writes Breer. "That alone makes them a prime trade-down candidate at 31, and they could have suitors coming up to get the fifth-year option on a young QB (as Minnesota did in 2014 with Teddy Bridgewater and Baltimore did in 2018 with Lamar Jackson)."

Speaking of Tom Brady, Breer had some thoughts on that, as well. Opponents of the idea that the 49ers should even consider pursuing the future Hall of Famer will point to the quarterback's age. He will turn 43 in August, and his best seasons are likely behind him.

Meanwhile, the 49ers already have a quarterback who helped guide the team to the Super Bowl. Jimmy Garoppolo is only 28 years old, general manager John Lynch said just two weeks ago that there is still room for growth, and that San Francisco is committed to the quarterback.

So why all the Brady-to-49ers chatter and wild speculation? Because it makes for more interesting conversation as we await next week's free-agency frenzy.

Breer sees the Brady and 49ers pairing as an unlikely scenario, but isn't ready to dismiss the possibility just yet. Doubters will point to the two quarterbacks' ages and say that Brady has one, maybe two more years left in him. After that, head coach Kyle Shanahan and company will once again be searching for a franchise quarterback.

But maybe there is a future option out there.

"If the greatest player of all-time wanted to play for you, wouldn't you have to—whether he was 30 or 50—discuss it?" Breer asks. "I think that's where the Niners are right now. What becomes of it, I don't know. But I do know there's been perception in league circles that Jimmy Garoppolo is on the clock, because Kirk Cousins is a free agent in 2021."

Shanahan was enamored with Cousins in the past. His initial plan was to reunite with the quarterback while with the 49ers. The two worked together in Washington.

Then Garoppolo entered the picture and Cousins signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

Shanahan was so enamored with the possibility of signing Cousins that it kept the 49ers from strongly considering Patrick Mahomes in the 2017 draft.

"I think that was a little bit different situation for us," Shanahan said in January. "We had the second pick in the draft, did not feel like, from all the intel you get and stuff, that he was going to go that high. And it was a little bit different of a situation for us just because I think it's pretty well documented of just the relationship I had with Kirk, and being in Washington and everything. I felt very confident that he wasn't going to stay there.

"So any time you go into a season knowing that a franchise quarterback is going to be available the next year, it made me a lot more picky with what we were looking at."

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