Over the weekend, we put together a list of the full universe of teams that should be considering the possibility of trading for Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield. Now that the Panthers have landed Mayfield, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo becomes the next veteran signal-caller to potentially land with a new team.
So which teams should be considering making a play for Garoppolo? Here’s our attempt to identify the full list of franchises, in no particular order — whether he’s traded or eventually released.
If the Browns lose Deshaun Watson to a full-season suspension, they need to decide whether to go with Jacoby Brissett or someone else. Garoppolo could be the someone else. The key becomes the financial side of the equation and San Francisco’s trade expectations. With the Browns getting a fifth-round pick in 2024 that can become a fourth-round selection, the 49ers shouldn’t be looking for much more.
If rookie Kenny Pickett won’t be ready, the question becomes whether Garoppolo would be better than Mitch Trubisky. Many would say that, despite Garoppolo’s inability to get the 49ers over the top, he is.
All due respect to Marcus Mariota, but Jimmy Garoppolo seems like a better option, if the goal is to win games in 2022 and not simply let nature take its course en route to a top draft pick in 2023.
Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Jared Goff? Advantage Garoppolo.
It’s still not clear whether they had any real interest in Baker Mayfield. Is Garoppolo better than Geno Smith or Drew Lock? Probably. Would the 49ers and Seahawks do that deal? Not likely, but it wouldn’t be unprecedented for a quarterback to be traded to a division rival (Donovan McNabb, Drew Bledsoe come to mind).
As mentioned in conjunction with Mayfield, the Saints were one of the teams pursuing Deshaun Watson. Is Garoppolo a better option than Jameis Winston? The Saints would have to make that assessment.
Plenty of connections exist between Garoppolo and the Texans executives who worked in New England when Garoppolo was there. Is he better than Davis Mills? Yes. The question is whether the Texans prefer to let Mills try to find a ceiling that could be higher than Garoppolo’s.
Keeping Garoppolo has always been an option. Would they do it at $25 million for 2022? That would be foolish. Could they work out a new deal now with the understanding he’ll take less, potentially earn some of it back if he plays, and become a free agent in March? He’d have to want to do that. Comments he made earlier this year would suggest that he doesn’t.
We meet again, TuAnon. Is Garoppolo currently better than Tua? That’s the question. And new coach Mike McDaniel, who worked with Garoppolo in San Francisco, likely has seen enough from both to know the answer.
However it plays out, the sooner it’s resolved, the better for Garoppolo. He needs to have a chance to get ready for the 2022 season. He needs to flip that $25 million non-guaranteed salary into something that has some real money behind it.