A lot has changed since we last looked at possible trade destinations for Jimmy Garoppolo the day after his season-ending interception in the NFC Championship Game. Yet one crucial element remains the same: he is still a member of the San Francisco 49ers. Despite expectations to the contrary, the Niners have been unable to secure a business partner for Garoppolo and his $25 million salary for 2022. All possible options have decided to pursue different paths, perhaps in part deterred by the shoulder surgery that Garoppolo had to undergo this offseason.
Jimmy G would be healthy now, and the 49ers gave his agents permission to find a trade on their own.
The best way to maximize a comeback at this point would be to wait for the injury bug to hit an unfortunate quarterback room forcing someone to make a desperate trade. The problem is, the Niners can’t really afford to do that. Getting everyone into the locker room behind new starter Trey Lance will be pretty tough with Garoppolo, who led most of the roster to a Super Bowl appearance, loafing in the background.
It looks like San Francisco is on board with that logic if the organization gave Garoppolo’s team the go-ahead to try to figure something out. With all the pieces pretty much in place in the league, where could he end up?
The Browns will likely miss Deshaun Watson for at least part of next season. They have would have examined Garoppolo as a back-up option if Watson gets hit with a big suspension instead of relying on Jacoby Brissett to lead the team to the promised land. It could be a good decision for both parties. Garoppolo gets a chance to shine in a talented offense with a good point guard and Cleveland doesn’t have to lose a season after trading for Watson despite knowing what the consequences would be.
The biggest problem is obvious: The Browns burned a lot of draft capital to get Watson and can’t afford to send valuable picks for Jimmy G. If the Niners are willing to lower the price, the Browns would probably be more than anyone. another option out of necessity.
This seems like the most likely option, even if it’s the most dismal. There will come a time when San Francisco will just want to get Something for Garoppolo and move on. That would be where Houston comes in. The Texans don’t plan to win next season and are inundated with draft picks after the Watson trade. Houston could bring Jimmy G on board as a veteran presence and highly paid replacement for tutor Davis Mills. Or the Texans could make it a competition to push Mills and let Garoppolo put together a watchable football game. The team has an obscene amount of open cap space.
It’s easy to see Houston overturning a sixth-round pick for Garoppolo. What do they have to lose, really?
Seattle is one of the few teams in the league to offer open QB competition that doesn’t offer any interesting options. Drew Lock was no good for the Broncos and Geno Smith didn’t play much above replacement level for the Seahawks last season. Garoppolo, for all his warts, is much better than those two guys and would be a much better bet to help keep Seattle competitive after dropping Russell Wilson. Like the Browns, the Seahawks don’t have a ton of picks to throw, but could be pushed to send as high as a fourth-rounder for Garoppolo.
Of course, it all hinges on whether the Niners are willing to send their former starting QB to not just a divisional opponent, but their arch-rival in the league. Which seems unlikely. The NFC West is already competitive enough as is. And the Seahawks were a big thorn in Jimmy G’s side when he played against them. So we’ll say it’s a long shot, but something is better than nothing for San Fran and as the only team with a real question mark at QB at this point, Seattle needs to be included.