When the San Francisco 49ers first made the move up to No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, it felt like a matter of time before Trey Lance replaced Jimmy Garoppolo in the starting lineup. A franchise doesn’t make that type of move without the intention to play said rookie.
However, Garoppolo was allowed to start the regular season under center and has given the Niners little reason to replace him up to this point. Regardless of it’s been pretty or not, the 49ers are on their way to the NFC Championship Game — Garoppolo’s second in three years.
With that said, the expectation in San Francisco is that it will still turn the reigns over to Lance in 2022. This means Garoppolo will likely hit the trade block. Whether you like Jimmy G or not, several teams would benefit from having him under center. His results speak for themselves — he’s mastered the art of not losing his team games.
Jimmy G doesn’t have the natural arm talent like a Josh Allen or a Patrick Mahomes. However, he does offer a sense of serious stability at the quarterback position. He rarely goes off script and is willing to follow the playbook no matter what. He’s a calming presence under center.
With that in mind, a team in desperate need of some stability is the Carolina Panthers. They’re coming off a nightmarish season where Sam Darnold, P.J. Walker, and Cam Newton all took reps at QB1. Garoppolo is better than all three of those players.
The financial situation would need some tinkering to work on Carolina’s end. They still owe Darnold $18 million next season. However, they should definitely poke around the Jimmy G market if they can find a way to offload Darnold. Garoppolo represents a significant upgrade at the position.
The Denver Broncos likely have their eyes on a much bigger prize (Aaron Rodgers, anyone?). However, if they cannot acquire a true franchise quarterback this offseason, turning their attention to Garoppolo as an above-average bridge QB makes a lot of sense.
The team tried this strategy with Teddy Bridgewater this past season. However, Bridgewater wasn’t good enough to make the strategy work.
Similar to the 49ers, the Broncos already have a strong defense in place. Between Bradley Chubb, Patrick Surtain II, and Justin Simmons, they have the personnel on the defensive side of the ball to take severe pressure off Jimmy G.
Like San Francisco, Garoppolo would be able to focus on “not losing his team the game” instead of carrying them to wins.
This last team is a little more far-fetched, seeing as the Philadelphia Eagles have publicly stated their commitment to former second-round pick Jalen Hurts. However, Eagles GM Howie Roseman is known for his constant pursuit of better QB talent, and it’s hard to ignore the upgrade that Garoppolo would provide in the passing game.
Garoppolo ranked top-10 in completion rate and passer rating this past season. Hurts ranked outside the top 20 in both categories.
Hurts is an excellent runner. There’s no denying that. However, his arm left a lot to be desired this past season. If the Eagles want to get the most out of WR DeVonta Smith and TE Dallas Goedert, they need a quarterback who can move the ball through the air.
Like the Broncos, the Eagles reportedly have their eyes set on bigger targets like Russell Wilson and Deshaun Watson. However, Jimmy G would be a solid consolation prize if they miss out on them.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.