Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Rapoport debunks report that Patriots tried to trade for 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo before draft

Oct 28, 2021 at 12:58 PM--

On Tuesday, an excerpt from the book "It's Better to Be Feared" by ESPN's Seth Wickersham stated that the New England Patriots had inquired with the San Francisco 49ers if they would accept a second-round pick for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo leading up to the 2021 NFL Draft.

"San Francisco seemed to have backed itself into an impossible corner, moving up to draft a quarterback while trying to hold onto an expensive temporary starter who had a no-trade clause in his contract, giving him power over his future," wrote Wickersham, per Matt Miller. "There was an informal call between a high-level representative of the Patriots and a high-level 49ers official. What was Garoppolo's price?

"New England wondered if a second-rounder would suffice—calling it even from 2017. But the 49ers wouldn't take less than a first. For the moment, at least, San Francisco was counting on Garoppolo to be the quarterback for 2021. The Patriots reached the same conclusion as San Francisco—they liked the potential of the available first-round quarterbacks more than Garoppolo—and moved on."

On Wednesday, a reporter asked head coach Kyle Shanahan if there was any truth to the report from Wickersham.

"No. None," Shanahan responded. "I'd also like to not keep answering questions about a book. I promise if that was the case, I would have talked to their head coach."

The 49ers coach isn't the only one debunking the report. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport also says that the Patriots never sought a reunion with Garoppolo during the draft and that they couldn't afford one (h/t to Matt Hladik of The Spun). Following an offseason spending spree, New England couldn't absorb the veteran quarterback's salary even if they wanted to. Sure, anything is possible, and the team might have been able to move some money around or negotiate with Garoppolo, but it would have been challenging.

"If the two sides could even come to terms (a big if), it would take a complex contract negotiation to get it done," Rapoport reported in April as the draft was set to kick off. "Simply, NE doesn't have room to fit the contract."

Garoppolo remained with San Francisco. The 49ers selected Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick, and the Patriots selected Mac Jones at No. 15 overall.

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