Jimmy Garoppolo was certainly bracing himself for what was set to be an eventual night in the NFL that would quite possibly paint a clearer picture of his future in the league. However, with the first round coming and going, the 29-year-old is left with more questions than answers. Once the 49ers moved up to the No. 3 overall pick earlier in the pre-draft process, it became clear that they were going to select a quarterback and effectively wave the white flag on any sort of long-term future with him under center. While that was a fate Garoppolo could begin wrapping his mind around over the last few weeks and months, the events that unfolded after that pick in the opening round of the 2021 draft may leave him with fewer potential suitors than once imagined.
The first domino to fall was the obvious one: the 49ers taking a quarterback third overall. While there was some initial thought that Alabama's Mac Jones could be the pick, San Francisco ultimately elected to roll with Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. Now, he's the clear future under center in the Bay Area as head coach Kyle Shanahan will groom him to take Garoppolo's job as soon as he's ready to do so.
That decision to go with Lance over Jones proved to hurt Garoppolo twofold. Jones then fell down the board all the way to No. 15 overall where the Patriots scooped him up. New England was looked at as a natural landing spot for Garoppolo, given that the Pats were the organization that drafted him in 2014 and essentially groomed him to be the heir apparent to Tom Brady. If they were unable to find an upgrade at quarterback in the first round, the drum-banging to spark up a reunion would have only grown louder. With Jones now in the fold and Cam Newton as the entrenched veteran to keep the boat afloat as the rookie prepares to take over as QB1, however, a return to New England for Garoppolo has become increasingly less likely.
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That wasn't the only potential destination for Garoppolo that dried up on Thursday night. His hometown Chicago Bears filled their quarterback need by trading up from No. 20 to No. 11 to select Ohio State's Justin Fields. Similar to the Patriots, Chicago will now turn its focus toward bringing up a rookie quarterback while the veteran -- Andy Dalton in this case -- will likely begin the season as the starter, making the need to acquire Garoppolo nonexistent.
To make matters worse, other clubs looking to improve at that position may now put Garoppolo on the backburner. Why? Because it appears as if reigning NFL MVP Aaron Rodgers is going to become available as his relationship with the Green Bay Packers is deteriorating rather quickly. If you're a team looking for a starting-caliber quarterback, you're likely waiting to see how this situation with Rodgers shakes out before making any sort of move to acquire Garoppolo, which is less than ideal for him.
This is arguably the worst-case scenario that has unfolded for Garoppolo, who now looks poised to stay with the 49ers for the 2021 season and start as Lance gets ready in the background. Naturally, other suitors for him will come around at some point, but the events of this first round hardly did him any favors in becoming the clear present and future of an organization next season.