The San Francisco 49ers trade up in last year’s NFL Draft has changed the dynamics of this organization in a big way. San Francisco will now rely on 2021 No. 3 pick Trey Lance to replace Jimmy Garoppolo under center.
As for Garoppolo, his situation remains in flux after the quarterback led San Francisco to a second NFC Championship Game appearance in three years. The 49ers were unable to pull off a Garoppolo trade before most of the vacant starting jobs around the NFL were filled. There’s hope that something can get done here.
Without a first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft stemming from the aforementioned blockbuster trade, San Francisco is not in an enviable situation leading up to the annual event in Northern California.
Below, we look at three trades the 49ers can make during the draft to help both their short-term future and long-term relevance on the broader NFL stage.
Related: 2022 San Francisco 49ers mock draft
San Francisco 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo
Jan 30, 2022; Inglewood, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo throws a pass against the Los Angeles Rams during the NFC Championship Game at SoFi Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Obviously, this is something the 49ers’ brass would like to get done before the draft. It’s also somewhat unlikely given that he’s recovering from shoulder surgery and the market is limited for the quarterback’s services.
At this point, San Francisco should move Garoppolo for pennies on the dollar. If the Houston Texans or Carolina Panthers come calling by offering up a mid-round pick in the 2022 draft and future conditional compensation, the 49ers need to please.
Garoppolo is still counting $26.95 million against the cap. The 49ers themselves have a mere $1.72 million in cap room. Even without a first-round pick, that’s not enough to sign their rookie class. Meanwhile, the team is currently in contract extension talks with All-Pros Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel. Taking care of the Garoppolo situation has to be of priority for general manager John Lynch and Co.
Related: Updated 2022 NFL draft rumors
San Francisco 49ers trade for N’Keal Harry
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The 49ers signed two mid-tier free-agent wide receivers ahead of the draft in that of Malik Turner and Marcus Johnson. San Francisco also signed one of the better punt returners in the NFL, Ray-Ray McCloud.
Even then, there’s a need for more talent and depth behind starters Deebo Samuel and Brandon Aiyuk. Enter into the equation a still young 24-year-old former first-round pick in N’Keal Harry. He’s out of favor in New England and could likely be had for a late-round pick. Despite Harry’s lack of success with the Patriots, he fits the mold of a bigger-bodied wide receiver the 49ers need (6-foot-4). The Arizona State product would also come cheap ($3.2 million cap hit in 2022).
Related: Sportsnaut’s updated NFL trade rumors
San Francisco 49ers trade for future draft assets
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Without a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, it makes sense for San Francisco to move off one or two of its nine selections in the 2022 event. The team will also have at least one extra compensatory third-round selection next year due to the Miami Dolphins hiring Mike McDaniel.
What does this all mean? With two third-round selections and three sixth-round picks, San Francisco could entice a team to give up a second rounder in 2023 for two of those selections. It would create more wriggle room for Lynch and Co. moving forward despite the lack of a first-round pick both in 2022 and 2023.