Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Ross Tucker believes 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo to Panthers remains a possibility

May 16, 2022 at 2:50 PM--

Former NFL offensive lineman turned sports broadcaster and analyst Ross Tucker doesn't "believe for a second" that the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks will enter Week 1 of the 2022 season with one of their current quarterbacks as the starter. Instead, he feels both teams will make a move to prevent that from happening.

"Carolina, we know Matt Rhule is on the hot seat," Tucker explained to Rich Eisen on The Rich Eisen Show. "Is he really going into this year with a guy like Sam Darnold and Matt Corral? I just don't believe that."

Tucker believes both the Panthers and Seahawks are waiting out current quarterback situations. For the former, it is Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers. For the latter, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield may be a possibility. After all, the Panthers and Seahawks know that the 49ers and Browns look to move on from their former starters. They can afford to wait to see what happens.

Tucker believes the Panthers remain interested in Garoppolo but are waiting out his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery. The 49ers quarterback is not expected to be medically cleared to throw until late June, at the earliest.

"I think the Panthers probably believe that they're kind of in the driver's seat to be able to get either Jimmy G or Baker Mayfield because the Niners wouldn't want to send Jimmy G up to Seattle," Tucker continued. "I doubt that. ... I still don't see Jimmy G going to Seattle. I don't see that happening."

It seems unlikely that the 49ers would risk throwing Garoppolo into practice if he remains on the roster during training camp. It seems even less likely that they would throw him into a preseason game. Should Garoppolo get injured on the field, San Francisco would be stuck with his hefty salary. Instead, the 49ers could use that money to lock up other young stars like pass rusher Nick Bosa and wide receiver Deebo Samuel.

Tucker added: "Once July comes around, once it gets real with Jimmy's health and with Baker Mayfield reporting to training camp ... I think it will sort itself out, probably with Baker going to Seattle and Jimmy going to Carolina."

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