The San Francisco 49ers have made the biggest move of the 2021 NFL Draft, a trade that puts the organization in prime position to land a franchise quarterback. San Francisco moved up nine spots to No. 3 overall, trading away the No. 12 pick, a 2022 and 2023 first-round pick, and a 2022 third-round pick to the Miami Dolphins in order to complete the blockbuster deal. 

What does this mean for the future of Jimmy Garoppolo, the quarterback the 49ers gave up a second-round pick for four years ago and handed out a five-year, $137.5 million contract to just five games into his San Francisco tenure? Now that the contract is favorable and the 49ers are in position to draft their future quarterback, Garoppolo’s days in San Francisco appear to be numbered. 

There are plenty of quarterback-needy teams that don’t have a prime draft selection, leading them to be logical suitors to acquire a veteran quarterback in Garoppolo for the 2021 season — and possibly beyond. Who are the teams that could make a run at Garoppolo over the coming weeks? Let’s take a look: 

New England bringing back the quarterback that was supposed to be the heir apparent to Tom Brady would be a an epic move by Bill Belichick — and makes plenty of sense. Garoppolo has success in New England’s system, is familiar with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, and is the one signal-caller that can prove “The Patriot Way” isn’t Brady. 

Garoppolo started two games for the Patriots in 2016, completing 71.2{066dbc63777e5ed549f406789d72fdeebd77a32711d57f7b38ff2b35c4ba2a42} of his passes for 496 yards with four touchdowns and zero interceptions — as New England won both of his starts. The Patriots can afford to give up a Day 2 pick for Garoppolo, who is an upgrade over Cam Newton in both stages of their careers. New England would be getting Garoppolo at a bargain if he turns out to be the quarterback the Patriots reluctantly dealt to San Francisco for a second-round pick in 2017. 

The Broncos are seeking an upgrade over Drew Lock, and really aren’t sure what they have in the 2019 second-round pick. Instead of drafting a quarterback at No. 9 — which seems out of the realm of possibility with San Francisco trading up to No. 3 — a veteran option is a much safer bet than having a rookie challenge Lock. 

Garoppolo is the most affordable option on the market, and could thrive with a wide receiving corps that includes Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, K.J. Hamler, Tim Patrick, and DaeSean Hamilton. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur likes to utilize the pass, which will play into Garoppolo’s strengths. 

Denver needs a veteran quarterback that can manage the game and is good enough to ignite the offense when needed. Garoppolo checks off both boxes. 

The Panthers are still looking for a quarterback to run Joe Brady’s offense after a lackluster year from Teddy Bridgewater. With the Deshaun Watson trade talks on hold, perhaps the best option is Garoppolo at this point. Carolina wouldn’t have to part ways with a lot of draft capital to land a veteran quarterback on a team-friendly deal. Since Carolina has the No. 8 pick in the draft, there is certainly no guarantee any of the top four quarterbacks on the draft board will be there. 

Brady likes to get all his playmakers in space, making it easier for the quarterback to execute passes — tailoring his offense to Garoppolo’s skill set. The Panthers could thrive with Garoppolo leading the offense.

This could be a huge win for Garoppolo and Carolina — one that could make the Panthers contenders in the NFC South. 

Chicago may have called Andy Dalton its QB1, but Garoppolo is a much-better option at this point. The Bears would instantly upgrade at quarterback with Garoppolo, running an offense that can get the most out of Garoppolo — who can play a similar role he had in San Francisco. 

While Chicago needs an elite quarterback in order to win a Super Bowl, Garoppolo’s presence makes the Bears a playoff team — and he’s good enough to get on a playoff run and carry Chicago’s offense. The Bears don’t need their quarterback to be a superstar (although its nice to have one), but there are much better options than Dalton. 

Premature to call Dalton “QB1” at this stage in the game.