NFL Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Jimmy Garoppolo, Sam Darnold, More

Martin FennFeatured Columnist IApril 1, 2021

NFL Rumors: Latest Trade Buzz on Jimmy Garoppolo, Sam Darnold, More

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    Scott Eklund/Associated Press

    The San Francisco 49ers made headlines on Friday by trading up for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

    San Francisco gave up the No. 12 pick in addition to a pair of future first-round picks (2022 and 2023) and a third-round pick in 2022. In moving spots, the Niners have the chance to select one of the top players in the upcoming class. They could very well choose a quarterback.

    What might the deal mean for incumbent Niners starter Jimmy Garoppolo? Adam Schefter of ESPN previously reported San Francisco still sees "Jimmy G" as QB1. Of course, that could change if the Niners take a rookie who subsequently impresses during training camp.

    Here are the latest rumors regarding how the Niners value Garoppolo, plus rival executives' thoughts on New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold and the possibility of a partnership between the New York Giants and veteran cornerback Jason McCourty.

Niners Would Want 1st-Round Pick for Garoppolo

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    The Niners clearly value Garoppolo even if they ultimately take one of the top signal-callers in the upcoming draft.

    General manager John Lynch explained to reporters Monday that he had a conversation with ownership about wanting to pull the trigger on a deal. But Lynch also said he expressed the desire to retain Garoppolo.

    Even if San Francisco decides to move Garoppolo, inquiring teams might have to pay the right price. Breer reported Wednesday the Niners would need a first-round pick to be involved in any possible deal just to "listen." However, Breer reiterated the team does not have any "urgency" to trade their current starter.

    Is there a team out there that could blow the Niners away with an offer? It seems unlikely at present.

    Garoppolo has shown flashes of being a franchise quarterback throughout his career. But he has also dealt with multiple injuries. His upcoming cap hits—$26.4 million in 2021 and $27 million in 2022, per Spotrac—might also be a factor for interested teams.

    Instead, the Niners are more likely to see what Garoppolo can do as the starter in 2021. Or, perhaps they will reevaluate and lessen the price tag should a rookie come in and dominate during camp.

Rival Executives Not High on Darnold's Trade Value

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    It is unknown whether the Niners would actually receive an offer including a first-round pick in exchange for Garoppolo. But the New York Jets do not appear likely to receive that kind of draft compensation if they move Sam Darnold.

    Kimberley A. Martin of ESPN asked three NFL general managers about Darnold and what they would hypothetically give up to acquire the former No. 3 overall pick. None of the GMs indicated they would pay higher than a third-round pick, with one saying a conditional fourth-rounder might be more realistic.

    Martin went on to report teams are not sold on Darnold's talent and do not want to give up draft capital when the fifth-year option is looming. Any team that possibly acquires Darnold apparently will not pick up said option, per Martin.

    The Jets own the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft. General manager Joe Douglas has been content waiting to evaluate all the quarterback prospects before making a decision on Darnold. But he might not have to wait any longer.

    The presumption is Clemson star Trevor Lawrence will go No. 1 overall. However, the other top quarterback prospects are lining up right behind Lawrence.

    Dane Brugler of The Athletic spoke to a scout who claimed BYU quarterback Zach Wilson is all but guaranteed to go to New York with the second overall pick after his sensational pro day this past weekend. Ohio State star Justin Fields and Alabama's Mac Jones also put on excellent displays at their own pro days.

    New York has tons of options in the event it goes after a new franchise quarterback. But Douglas should also be wary of how little opposing front offices apparently think of Darnold's trade value. The Jets might be just as inclined to keep Darnold and have him battle it out with a rookie in camp.

'Mutual Interest' Between Giants, Devin McCourty

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    The New York Giants are still considering some upgrades in the secondary. They might have an easier path to signing a free agent who wants to play in East Rutherford.  

    Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post reported there is "mutual interest" between the Giants and veteran cornerback Jason McCourty. However, Dunleavy hinted there are other teams likely to be involved in McCourty's market.

    McCourty said on NFL Network (h/t ESPN's Mike Reiss) he wants to be a mentor to young players and head somewhere he feels wanted. The Giants certainly have a young and emerging defense. Perhaps McCourty can be a leader and add depth in the secondary.

    The 33-year-old started in 11 of 16 games with the New England Patriots in 2020. He had three passes defended and 42 combined tackles. McCourty struggled in coverage last season, as passers posted a 131.4 passer rating when he was the primary defender in coverage. However, quarterbacks completed just 48.2 percent of pass attempts and had a 54.7 rating when targeting McCourty in 2019.

    New York has an elite outside cornerback in James Bradberry. The Giants might hope to add an experienced presence to fight for the opposite outside corner position. That presence could very well be McCourty, though he might have his fair share of suitors in free agency.


    All stats obtained via Pro Football Reference, unless otherwise noted.