NFL rumors: Jimmy Garoppolo traded something the Patriots ‘still smell’

The 49ers, up to this point, have refused to engage in trade talks with the New England Patriots around Jimmy Garoppolo.

But that doesn’t mean Bill Belichick has given up on his dream of bringing Garoppolo back to Foxboro, according to ESPN’s Dianna Russini.

“Recently, I was talking to someone in the league that I really trust,” Russini said Thursday on “Get Up!” “It has good information. He said, “Don’t take the Jimmy Garoppolo trade off the table.” That’s something New England is still smelling. Bill doesn’t like putting his cards on the table so most think if we all know it probably won’t happen, but there’s definitely a tone in the league that it could still go down. “

There is no reason for the 49ers to discuss a possible Garoppolo trade unless they have a better option in center. At the moment, the 49ers don’t even have a reliable backing behind Garoppolo, let alone someone they feel can take charge and do a better job of piloting coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense on a weekly basis.

For the Patriots, they re-signed Cam Newton to a modest contract, but all signs point to Belichick wanting to bring in someone who can compete with Newton on training camp. The Patriots own the No. 15 overall pick in the draft and many believe they could look to move up to secure Alabama’s Mac Jones, who is expected to be the fifth quarterback selected in the first round.

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The 49ers threw a perfect game in free agency when general manager John Lynch was able to retain the team’s best talent by re-signing Trent Williams, K’Waun Williams, Jason Verrett, Emmanuel Moseley, Kyle Juszczyk and Jaquiski Tartt, in addition to add Alex. Mack and Samson Ebukam.

San Francisco still needs to beef up the depth of its inside offensive line, find long-term answers in the secondary, add a slot receiver, and get a backup for Garoppolo, but its main plan was nearly flawless in execution.

The 49ers’ ability to come out of free agency without an obvious need gives them the freedom and flexibility to move up in the draft and select one of the best quarterbacks, assuming there is one in whom Shanahan is fine. If they choose to do that, the 49ers could hand over the keys to the rookie and trade Garoppolo or let the rookie sit a season behind Garoppolo before giving him full control of the offense in 2022.

All signs are that Garoppolo will be under center in Santa Clara for the 49ers next season, but that won’t stop Belichick from trying to bring the man he wanted to replace Tom Brady back at 1 Patriot Place.

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