It’s slow right now, as evidenced by clunky efforts in some circles to tie Jimmy Garoppolo to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. So allow me to add to the slow-time chatter and make a wild-ass guess as to where Garoppolo will land.
I’m putting my chip on the Houston Texans.
It’s a hunch. A loose reading of tea leaves that may not even be tea leaves. A connecting of fairly obvious dots. An application of Occam’s razor to Lovie Smith’s beard.
For starters, Garoppolo clearly is available. We know that. Unless the 49ers have completely lost their marbles as to the quarterback position (and it’s definitely possible that they have), they’re not going to pay Garoppolo $25 million to serve as the understudy to Trey Lance.
Second, the Texans have shown that they know how to slow play a situation, in order to get the best outcome. They did it with Deshaun Watson. And it worked. Which makes them even more likely to keep their heads low and their mouths shut as to the possibility of getting Garoppolo, moving at the right time to get Garoppolo at the rights terms and the right price.
Third, the G.M. of the Texans drafted Garoppolo. Sure, Nick Caserio was setting the table for Bill Belichick at the time. Regardless, there’s a relationship there. There’s ownership there. There’s familiarity there.
Will Garoppolo ever win a Super Bowl without a defense like the ones built by the ’85 Bears or the ’00 Ravens? Probably, no. Will he turn a four-win team into a nine-win team, probably so.
The real question is whether the Texans really want to win this year. Some think they’re trying to be a sheep in wolf’s clothing, pretending that they have a decent team while gladly fading to the back of the pack — and rising to the front of the line for the draft in April.
If they’re truly trying to win, Garoppolo makes plenty of sense. And the way they’re playing it, by acting like they don’t want him and are all-in with Davis Mills, makes sense, too.
We’ll see how it plays out soon enough. Unless the Browns lose Watson for the full season, making Cleveland a no-brainer destination for Garoppolo, the Texans are the team that, to me, stands out as the most logical landing spot.