Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers insider identifies NFL team that makes the most sense for Jimmy Garoppolo

Jun 28, 2022 at 4:23 PM--

Jimmy Garoppolo will be a quarterback on some NFL roster during the 2022 season. However, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area doesn't believe it will be with the San Francisco 49ers.

The Niners attempted to trade Garoppolo in March, but all discussions halted when the quarterback surprised the team and opted to undergo shoulder surgery. That delayed things, which reduced the 49ers' options. As Garoppolo recovered, the list of quarterback-needy teams shrunk.

49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have tried to convince everyone that they are willing, if necessary, to hold onto Garoppolo in 2022 if a suitable offer doesn't present itself. That certainly isn't Plan A, though. Instead, once the quarterback is healthy, they hope to try to reignite conversations with other teams.

"Nothing's changed since his surgery," Shanahan told reporters in May. "You know where we were at before that, and then he got surgery, so everything went on hold. I expect him, at some time, most likely, to be traded, but who knows? That's not a guarantee, and it's been on hold [since] that happened."

Maiocco can't envision the 49ers holding onto Garoppolo due to the quarterback's heft salary.

"I think that the least likely [scenario], in my mind, would be to take on that $25 million, keep him on the team, and then what role?" Maiocco said on KNBR (h/t KNBR staff).

It would not make much sense to pay Garoppolo that much money to be second-year quarterback Trey Lance's backup. And if he isn't viewed as a backup and actually competes for the starting job, the national media would be quick to criticize the 49ers' plan for Lance.

"When we talked to him ... after the season, I mean, he said goodbye to everybody," Maiocco continued. "And I think he kind of finished that call with, 'Yeah, it's been a great ride.' So in his mind, he already had both feet out the door. So it's just crazy to think ... I just can't see him, right now, being a starting quarterback for any team the first week of the season."

That's not to say that Maiocco doesn't believe Garoppolo is a starting-caliber player. He does.

"I would say, clearly, he's one of the top 25 quarterbacks in the league," Maiocco clarified, "if not just a little bit better than that. So theoretically, he should be starting for a team, but most of the teams [are settled at quarterback]."

While some teams might look into acquiring Garoppolo should the 49ers release the veteran quarterback—like the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers—Maiocco named one other option that makes the most sense.

"The one team that could potentially win this year [with Garoppolo] is Cleveland," Maiocco said, "but they're probably not going to win too much with Deshaun Watson on the suspended list and with Baker Mayfield on some beach somewhere."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Maiocco below.

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