Question: Can Kyle Shanahan guarantee Jimmy Garoppolo will still be on his roster when the draft ends on Sunday?
Answer: "I can't guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday so I can't guarantee who will be on our roster on Sunday"
Well OK then. While literally true that Kyle Shanahan cannot guarantee anyone in the world will be alive in six days and God promises none of us a tomorrow, that is a specifically cryptic and weird way to answer a question. Even if you choose to criticize the reporter for not prefacing it with, "Assuming Jimmy Garoppolo is still a living, breathing entity ...", which is fair, who answers a question that way when the subject is someone who is very much in his future plans, the way the 49ers have been claiming all along. I mean, ask John Harbaugh about Lamar Jackson's immediate future and you're not going to get a riddle concerning his inability to predict the future and waxing philosophical about humankind's mortality. He'd just say "Of course" and wonder why you asked such an obvious question.
Which brings me, as most conversations have over the last six months or so, to Jimmy G and his availability. This was from Peter King earlier today:
It won’t surprise me if the Niners make Jimmy Garoppolo more available than he’s been. In other words, instead of trying to get a first-round pick for him, maybe considering taking a two for him. I wonder if the Patriots would deal the 46th pick in the draft, or their second-rounder in 2022, for their old friend.
And so, the elaborate ritual I mentioned earlier in the month continues:
And so it is that the dance that's been going on all offseason between the Niners and Patriots for Jimmy G is developing into something much more elaborate and beautiful: A full blown mating ritual. John Lynch extends his tail feathers. Bill Belichick shows off his colorful plumage. Lynch presents his red backside. Belichick releases his fragrant pheromones. It's nature, in all its glory.
First they had no plans whatsoever to talk trade. Their plan was to draft and stash their future QB on the bench for a year, and pay Jimmy G $25 million - none of it guaranteed - to be a lame duck. Then they leaked it out there that they might, just might, consider a 1st round pick for him. Even though it's a crazy idea, it's just crazy enough to work. It would kill them to part with their man, mind you, but they're willing to hear you out. Now he's "more available than he's been" and the buy in on a deal is a 2nd rounder. In the mating ritual, this would be Lynch rubbing his neck against Belichick's to indicate he's ready to consummate.
Now granted, it was just a few hours ago that I was talking about the growing speculation the Pats would move up into the top 10 to grab a quarterback, most likely Justin Fields.
And that is still very much in play. But as a Plan B. I still believe what I've believed all along: That Garoppolo is their Plan A. And Cam Newton is their absolute worst case scenario. Their safety school. They've invested heavily this offseason. Too heavily to draft and develop a QB and have to suffer through his inevitable growing pains. Garoppolo needs exactly zero hours of study and coaching to learn the system. He's ready from Day 1 to lead this team back to Super Bowl contention. He'll come at the reasonable price of a 2nd rounder. Possibly even next year's. His addition frees up that 15th pick to go to a receiver like a Jaylen Waddle to replace Julian Edelman, or a Front-7 defender like Micah Parsons or Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Or even makes a trade back a luxury they can afford.
Either way, this weird answer from Shanahan along with King's report about the price going down makes me more convinced than ever that Jimmy G back to New England is going to happen. And I know how I feel about it.