Better safe than sorry, right? Dale Arnold of NESN reports that the New England Patriots are working on a new contract for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Yes, Garoppolo is still with the San Francisco 49ers, and this news doesn’t necessarily mean that a deal is imminent. If accurate, it just means that the Patriots are getting everything in order — just in case a trade happens.

It could also mean that the Patriots believe the 49ers are likely to seek a trade.

Garoppolo has a base salary of $24.1 million in 2021 and is scheduled to eat up $26.4 million of San Francisco’s salary cap.

The 49ers are expected to draft a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick tomorrow, which means Garoppolo’s days in the Bay Area are numbered. The team has repeatedly stated that Garoppolo remains in its plans for the 2021 season. However, there were multiple reports this week that there is a “very strong expectation” around the league that San Francisco will seek to trade its quarterback before or during the draft.

While it has been reported that it would take a first-round pick for the Niners to consider deviating from their plan, Peter King of NBC Sports wonders if the price could drop as we approach the draft.

“In other words, instead of trying to get a first-round pick for him, maybe considering taking a two for him,” wrote King. “I wonder if the Patriots would deal the 46th pick in the draft, or their second-rounder in 2022, for their old friend.”

While Garoppolo owns a 24-9 record as a starter with San Francisco, he has missed 23 games over the past three seasons due to injuries. Many have speculated that a reunion with the team that drafted him, New England, could be a strong possibility.

“I mean, the biggest thing with Jimmy is his injuries,” Shanahan told reporters on Monday. “That’s been very tough for us when he’s been hurt. It’s happened two out of these three years, and that’s where it starts, and Jimmy knows that. I’ve been very upfront with him with everything.”

Another report states that nothing is happening between the Patriots and Garoppolo right now. Of course, if that means nothing is happening between the player and the team, that may simply be because nothing can happen right now unless San Francisco permits it. New England may still be working on the details on their side, in case the 49ers opt to move their quarterback.

The 2021 NFL Draft begins tomorrow night from Cleveland, Ohio.