Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Examining potential destinations for 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

Jul 29, 2022 at 4:00 PM--

As the 49ers moves from Jimmy Garoppolo as its starting quarterback to second-year signal-caller Trey Lance, I can't help but explore the potential destinations for the veteran 30-year-old. The team is in somewhat of a bind as training camps across the league are already underway, yet Garoppolo remains under contract with the organization.

In such a chaotic and uncharacteristic offseason with all of the quarterback movement, the 49ers missed out on moving Garoppolo. The 49ers may elect to hold off on making a move through training camp in case a starting quarterback on a playoff-hopeful team suffers an injury. It's a challenging position to be in as an organization, knowing Garoppolo's offseason shoulder surgery halted any trade hopes throughout the offseason while the quarterback musical chairs around the league had been taking place.

The Indianapolis Colts added veteran Matt Ryan from the Atlanta Falcons. In turn, sending Carson Wentz from Indy to Washington. Marcus Mariota was signed by the Falcons after sitting behind Derek Carr the past two seasons and is expected to receive the first opportunity to win the starting job ahead of rookie Desmond Ridder. The quarterback-starved Carolina Panthers brought in Baker Mayfield from the Browns after Deshaun Watson landed in Cleveland. Also, Russell Wilson was traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos.

Below are three teams I would like to see acquire Jimmy Garoppolo.

First, I am a fan of Garoppolo but always felt I understood what he was—he was never going to be the next Tom Brady, but he has proven over the past couple of seasons that he can succeed in the right situation. Last season Garoppolo maintained a 68.3% completion rate and threw for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Here are three teams I'd like to see Garoppolo land because he'd be insulated with some talent and wouldn't be completely exposed.

The first team is the New Orleans Saints.

The Saints are expected to roll with Jameis Winston in 2022. Things haven't looked so great in New Orleans since Drew Brees retired. Although Winston is an ok option, he, like Garoppolo, has recently suffered his fair share of injuries. Winston was limited to just seven games last season before suffering a season-ending knee injury. The Saints brought in veteran journeyman backup Andy Dalton as an insurance policy, but Garoppolo should be considered an upgrade to both. Winston tends to be very careless with the football. In his last full season as a starter, he threw a league-high 30 interceptions with a loaded offense in Tampa Bay. Tom Brady arrived as his replacement, and the rest is history. There are plenty of worse options around the league, but to think Winston is not replaceable would be a foolish sentiment.

New Orleans is expected to have superstar receiver Michael Thomas back at full strength this season, along with the additions of Jarvis Landy and rookie Chris Olave. That could make for a lethal air attack. Let's not forget that the Saints will still deploy a stellar one-two punch out of the backfield in Alvin Kamara (pending legal issue) and Mark Ingram. Garoppolo could join New Orleans and enjoy immediate success.

The second team that should consider adding Jimmy Garoppolo is the New York Giants.

Recently, the Giants became the odds-on favorite to land Garoppolo. It doesn't feel as though starting quarterback Daniel Jones is the long-term answer in New York. This will be a big year for Jones, who might be a victim of terrible coaching to this point in his career. Since Tom Coughlin departed following the 2015 season, the Giants have employed five head coaches, albeit one on an interim basis. After the Ben McAdoo experience, the Giants tried Steve Spagnuolo, Pat Shurmur, Joe Judge, and now Brian Daboll. Maybe Daboll will get the best out of Jones. Last season Jones threw for 2,428 yards, ten touchdowns, and seven interceptions, completing 64.3% of his passes.

Sometimes playing in the Big Apple can take its toll on a player—I believe Garoppolo's personality is perfect for the New York media, and he'd be able to weather all that comes with being the quarterback for the New York Giants. The Giants don't have the best skill position group around. Still, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, and Kenny Golladay bring some veteran leadership to the group and hopefully can help mold second-year pass-catcher Kadarius Toney into something special.

The third team that makes sense for Jimmy Garoppolo is the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Steelers went out and used a first-round pick on quarterback Kenny Pickett. Pickett didn't have to travel far to join the Steelers following a tremendous collegiate career at the University of Pittsburgh. Although many fans hope to see Pickett right away, it seems head coach Mike Tomlin is willing to remain patient with his young signal-caller and opt for veteran Mitchell Trubisky to begin the year. Trubisky had been waiting for another opportunity following his failed first go around as a starter with the Chicago Bears. Last season he backed up Josh Allen in Buffalo, hoping someone would come calling this offseason—the Steelers did.

Pittsburgh under Tomlin seems to always be competitive, and with Ben Roethlisberger calling it a career, the Steelers should look to Garoppolo as a one-year rental to remain relevant. The addition of Garoppolo buys Pickett one year of learning under Garoppolo, similar to what happened in San Francisco with Lance, plus the organization won't take a step backward waiting for their rookie quarterback to 'get it.' The Steelers possess tremendous athletes at their skill positions, led by Diontae Johnson and Chase Claypool. Trubisky is a conservative passer, and I don't feel that he can get the best out of his receivers. Although Garoppolo is not elite by any stretch of the imagination, he isn't afraid to fire the football downfield or into press coverage, allowing his playmakers an opportunity to win a 50/50 ball.

In the end, as the days continue to pass, it appears as though Garoppolo will end up being cut rather than traded. Releasing Garoppolo will free up roughly $24 million in cap space, some of which will likely be allocated to standout receiver Deebo Samuel who continues to wait for a contract extension. The downside of flat-out releasing the veteran quarterback is the organization will receive nothing in return. Having a keen eye for talent, even providing John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan with a future middle-round draft selection at this point would be an excellent return.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.
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