Jimmy Garoppolo is almost assuredly going to be back in 2021.
However, the keyword here is "almost". The NFL offseason is only a couple weeks in, so there is a ton of action still left to play out. Anything can happen, including the 49ers trading Garoppolo. Of course, trading Garoppolo would only happen if the 49ers already have his replacement on the roster.
It begs the question to ask: when could the 49ers trade Garoppolo?
The NFL draft would be the prime opportunity to trade Garoppolo away. It is all about the timing and availability here. Despite Jared Goff, Matthew Stafford, and Carson Wentz being traded in the last month, there is no rush to trade Garoppolo. In fact, even if the 49ers were actively shopping him, the compensation for him in the last few weeks would be minimal. That is because there was better options out there to trade for like Stafford and Wentz.
Now the only quarterback that seems available for a trade is Sam Darnold, whom Garoppolo has the edge on talent wise. As the market for quarterbacks thins out, Garoppolo's stock soars higher. And I know that Deshaun Watson is still out there demanding a trade, but Darnold and Garoppolo are the likeliest to be traded. Watson has no leverage to be dealt and the Texans have no reason to trade him. There hasn't been any movement on that front, but then again things can change.
Garoppolo being traded at the draft would mean he is the last remaining available veteran out there. Teams like the Bears and Patriots probably do not want to deal with a rookie in the upcoming season. So the demand for Garoppolo would increase and coerce teams into coughing up a better deal to the 49ers.
If this scenario plays out, then the 49ers would have definitely held serious discussions on a trade before the draft occurred. The 49ers would probably tell teams that they can acquire Garoppolo if and only if they are able to find a suitable replacement, like a Justin Fields should he fall.
You could say the 49ers can trade Garoppolo around free agency should they sign a quarterback and roll the dice in the draft. But that is just too many risky steps for the 49ers to take there. At least if they wait to trade Garoppolo at the draft, they ensure they can get his replacement and trade him for better value.
Again, I believe it is almost assured Garoppolo starts for the 49ers in 2021. But free agency hasn't even taken place yet. A lot of teams will look differently soon and have different perspectives.
It still would not be shocking to see Garoppolo elsewhere in 2021.