The San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo haven't broken up quite yet, but the Niners are getting ready to see other people.
After trading up to grab the No. 3 selection in the NFL draft, San Francisco will more than likely have its pick of quarterbacks not named Trevor Lawrence or Zach Wilson. That means Trey Lance, Justin Fields or Mac Jones could be the newest member of the 49ers by the end of Thursday night.
As for Garoppolo, there are still plenty of teams who would love to add the 29-year-old.
According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, there's a "very strong expectation" among general managers throughout the league that the Niners will make a "major" effort to move Garoppolo before the end of the draft.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk believes the New England Patriots, Houston Texans and Chicago Bears are among the potential trade partners.
The Patriots drafted Garoppolo No. 62 overall in 2014 before sending him to San Francisco for a second-round pick in 2017. The Houston Texans are holding on to Deshaun Watson despite his trade requests and legal issues, while the Bears have Andy Dalton pencilled in as their starting quarterback after a less-than-stellar start to the offseason.
Garoppolo is from the Chicagoland area and played his college ball at Eastern Illinois, making a homecoming with the Bears the feel-good story both sides desperately need, but it won't be that simple for any franchise trying to acquire the QB.
"Two key components will be part of any trade. First, and obviously, the 49ers will have to find a suitor who will give San Francisco the compensation that it wants. Second, the new team will need to strike a deal with Garoppolo as to his compensation for 2021, and whether he'll get an extension or (like Teddy Bridgewater in Denver) a path to free agency after the 2021 season.
"The strategic question for the 49ers becomes whether they're willing to wait for a better market to develop later, if for example a starting quarterback elsewhere suffers an injury. However, waiting for a preseason ACL tear or broken leg would entail risking that the oft-injured Garoppolo will get injured, sticking the 49ers with his full $24.1 million salary for 2021."
Garoppolo has played a full 16-game season just once since entering the league in 2014, leading the Niners to a Super Bowl loss against the Kansas City Chiefs in 2019. If he's healthy, there's no question he can perform at an elite level.
San Francisco appears ready to move on, however. Now it just needs to find someone willing to take on Garoppolo at a fair price.