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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Peter King feels 49ers should keep Jimmy Garoppolo, but first-rounder in trade not unthinkable

Jan 19, 2022 at 9:55 AM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are in the middle of a playoff run, their second in three seasons. They hope to extend their season beyond Saturday's Divisional Round playoff game against the Green Bay Packers. Still, even now, it's difficult not to wonder about the Niners' looming offseason quarterback decision.

For many, there is no choice. The 49ers will have to move on from Jimmy Garoppolo, transitioning to the team's No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance. Obviously, San Francisco would like to get something in return for Garoppolo, if that happens.

Of course, Peter King of NBC Sports isn't so sure parting with Garoppolo is the best option.

"I've had a two-fold opinion about Garoppolo," King told 95.7 The Game's Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto on Tuesday. "Number one, if I were the 49ers, I'd really try to hang on to him because I think what he gives you is the ability to not have to rely on something uncertain at quarterback in 2022. I know there's about one in a thousand 49ers fans who would agree with that. That's just how I feel."

If that doesn't happen, count King among those who believe the 49ers can get a good return for Garoppolo.

"Having said that, I think that there is still, despite the fact that you saw that late-game interception, despite the fact that now it looks like his shoulder is hurt, despite the fact he's hurt a lot, I still think there's a good chance to very good chance that if the 49ers want to get a one (first-round pick) for him. They could," King continued.

"Now, a lot of people will say, 'You're out of your mind. They'll never do that.' I talked to Jimmy for 10 minutes after the game the other night, and there is absolutely no question that he is playing at a significant [dis]advantage (due to his thumb injury).

"... Jimmy Garoppolo told me, 'Listen, I've got a torn UCL in my thumb. Yeah, it hurts. Yeah, it's a factor in how I throw. But it is what it is. Everybody's hurt this time of year. Let's go.' I think he's being very frank with that. He's telling you, Yeah, at 78 percent, I'm our best option, and you know what? I believe it. ... Certainly, if the 49ers [win] this weekend, and Garoppolo was good, there's no question in my mind that somebody will step up and give a one for him."

King noted that the uncertainty surrounding the future of other NFL quarterbacks, like Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson, and Deshaun Watson, could impact the trade market.

Added King: "Jimmy Garoppolo is not a top-five quarterback in the league, but when he's healthy, he's pretty good. He's better than half the teams in the league have right now."

You can listen to the entire interview with King below.

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