Will Jimmy Garoppolo's future ever be clear? It seems the 29-year-old San Francisco 49ers quarterback's path takes a different turn by the day. He may be linked to another team via trade rumors, or his current coaches might publicly state their confidence in him.
The most recent story regarding Garoppolo is one of denial. Despite talk of a possible return to the New England Patriots, his former team, ESPN's Jordan Schultz, reported Sunday that Garoppolo won't be heading back up north.
"#Patriots are not pursuing #49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, per sources," Schultz tweeted. "Cap space isn’t there and obviously Cam Newton will return. Additionally, the draft is flush with QBs. No Jimmy GQ reunion for the Pats in foreseeable future."
So where does that leave the Patriots? As Schultz tweeted, 31-year-old quarterback Cam Newton is set to return to the team, most likely retaining his starting job. Newton struggled last season, throwing for just eight touchdowns alongside 10 interceptions, as New England fielded a 6-10 record.
Newton may start for the Patriots this upcoming season, but he's likely not their long-term quarterback. That leaves them with two options: drafting a signal caller, either this year or next, signing a free agent or acquiring a quarterback via trade.
There are plenty of options for the Patriots in the 2021 NFL Draft; while they likely won't have a shot at drafting the cream of the crop, Alabama's Mac Jones, Florida's Kyle Trask or even Texas A&M's Kellen Mond are some of the many viable candidates to be coach Bill Belichick's next starter-in-line.
Jones and Trask, in particular, flashed talent in college and hold the potential to start in the NFL. Under Belichick's watch, it's not hard to imagine them being more than just starters, but stars.
What's next for Jimmy Garoppolo?
While the Patriots mull their quarterback job, Garoppolo has enough to worry about in keeping his own.
The 49ers recently acquired the third overall pick in the upcoming draft, and most fans and analysts expect they will use that spot to select a quarterback, throwing Garoppolo's future with the team even further into question.
Garoppolo has arguably played well for the 49ers when he's been healthy; he helped lead them to a Super Bowl LIV appearance in 2019, but has also struggled heavily with injuries, having missed much of two of his four seasons in San Francisco.
During a press conference Monday, coach Kyle Shanahan didn't shy away from the prospect of the 49ers drafting a quarterback at No. 3, but also stated his confidence in Garoppolo and his ability to help them win.
How Garoppolo's future will play out in San Francisco, and the NFL at large, though, seems just as murky now as it ever has.