3. Trading for Jimmy Garoppolo
In the middle of the 2017 season, Lynch’s first with the 49ers, the team was really bad. That wasn’t altogether surprising considering the state of the roster, but everyone was looking ahead to the 2018 offseason for San Francisco where they were the presumed favorites for free agent QB Kirk Cousins.
In late October, Lynch pulled off a trade with the New England Patriots for backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Sending New England just a second-round pick when they had been so bullish on not trading Garoppolo, it felt like the Pats were doing either Garoppolo, the 49ers, or both a favor.
When I was at the Senior Bowl in 2018, I overheard a conversation with Lynch and another NFL coach who commended the new GM on his huge trade. Lynch smiled with eyebrows raised as though he still couldn’t believe it as Garoppolo’s arrival completely shifted the dynamic of the 49ers as a whole and said the trade was ‘fortuitous’ for them.
Even with his injury history, Garoppolo has lost a total of just six games in three seasons with the 49ers, winning 21. He may not be the greatest game-changer at QB in the league, but Garoppolo’s presence undoubtedly impacts the 49ers in a big way.