Will Jimmy Garoppolo rejoin the New England Patriots this offseason? Perhaps. But no trade is imminent, according to a report Thursday from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
The Patriots “aren’t expected to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo (Thursday night) or anytime soon,” Rapoport tweeted shortly before the start of the 2021 NFL Draft.
“If the two sides could even come to terms (a big if),” Rapoport reported, “it would take a complex contract negotiation to get it done. Simply, (New England) doesn’t have room to fit the contract.”
Garoppolo would carry a salary cap hit of roughly $25 million if traded, meaning the Patriots would need to either restructure or extend his contract in order to fit him under the cap. New England entered Thursday with roughly $15.6 million in available cap space, some of which will be needed to sign its 2021 draft picks.
The 49ers plan to draft a quarterback at No. 3 overall after trading up from No. 12. If they select Alabama’s Mac Jones, who’s considered a pro-ready prospect, dealing Garoppolo to clear cap space would be a sensible move. If they opt for the less seasoned Trey Lance of North Dakota State, keeping Garoppolo as a short-term starter could be beneficial.
Garoppolo has no-trade clause in his contract, meaning the Niners would need his approval in order to move him. He reportedly is interested in rejoining the Patriots, who drafted him in the second round in 2014, but might not be keen on taking a pay cut.
The Patriots and 49ers also might be unable to agree on a fair return for the 29-year-old signal-caller. Garoppolo quarterbacked San Francisco to a Super Bowl appearance in 2019 but has struggled to stay healthy, missing 23 games over the last three seasons.
With a current depth chart of Cam Newton, Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala, quarterback is the Patriots’ biggest need entering draft weekend. They currently own 10 total draft picks, including the 15th overall selection in Thursday’s first round.
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