The San Francisco 49ers reportedly believed the New England Patriots could have traded up to No. 3 in the 2021 NFL draft to select Mac Jones, spurring their own move for a quarterback, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
San Francisco gave up two future first-round picks and a future third to the Miami Dolphins to trade up from No. 12 to No. 3, eventually selecting quarterback Trey Lance.
New England stayed put at No. 15 and still ended up with Jones, who earned the starting job in Week 1 after the team released veteran Cam Newton.
There was plenty of speculation leading up to the draft that the Alabama product would end up in New England. According to Schefter, "The 49ers considered the well-documented relationship between Bill Belichick and Nick Saban and knew that New England was doing legwork on the quarterback prospects in the draft."
The 49ers, meanwhile, said they would be happy with a variety of quarterbacks.
"That's why we thought [No.] 3 was a good spot to go to," head coach Kyle Shanahan said in April. "After going through this whole process, I felt good about five guys at [No.] 3."
Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson were long expected to be taken with the first two picks, leaving the 49ers to choose between Jones, Lance and Justin Fields at No. 3. The Chicago Bears ultimately selected Fields 11th overall.
The 49ers are rolling with veteran Jimmy Garoppolo to begin the season, though it's only a matter of time before Shanahan and Co. turn the offense over to the North Dakota State signal-caller.