Peter King Suggests the 49ers and Panthers Engineer a Jimmy Garoppolo-Sam Darnold Trade

The San Francisco 49ers are still holding on to Jimmy Garoppolo, at least for now. The Carolina Panthers have missed out on the quarterback sweepstakes and are back to square one after Deshaun Watson decided he didn’t want to be traded there.

Garoppolo was considered one of the first names to go elsewhere this offseason, but his shoulder surgery has proceeded to hold teams back from acquiring him. Now, the list is running low on QB-needy teams, and the Panthers are the most desperate team in the market.

Peter King drew up a rather interesting trade scenario that might make sense for both parties.

Peter King suggests the 49ers and Panthers engage in a QB swap

Peter King is never shy to share his ideas and he dropped a rather brilliant one on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

At first thought, the idea of the 49ers trading Garoppolo for Darnold is odd. But, the more you think about it, this move makes sense for both sides.

The Panthers would instantly improve with Garoppolo under center, and it isn’t like Carolina has many other options for the time being. Is Matt Rhule comfortable starting a rookie in 2022? Is Cam Newton thinking of returning to Carolina?

Even with Carolina’s latest comments on Darnold, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them active on the trade market.

Baker Mayfield is reportedly not interested in Carolina, and his cap hit in 2022 is scaring off a ton of NFL teams. But, Garoppolo is another story. He isn’t a Pro Bowl QB, but he brought the 49ers to the NFC title game and would give Carolina at least a half-decent starter, something they have been looking for.

This hypothetical trade would be odd in terms of financials, but it could be a reality

When King first mentioned the idea, it seemed very off. This season, Darnold holds an $18 million cap hit, and Garoppolo has a massive cap hit of his own.

But, as the days go on, San Francisco needs to do something with Garoppolo. Will the 49ers really go through another season of a QB carousel and controversy? That would not be beneficial for Trey Lance, who has been waiting to be the starter.

At the end of the 49ers’ stunning postseason run, Garoppolo all but said goodbye to the organization as an anticipated trade waited to go down. But, the surgery changed things, and the drastic fluctuation of the QB market surprisingly left Garoppolo as one of the last men standing.

Even with reports that the 49ers are comfortable holding on to Garoppolo, a cap hit of $25 million is a ton for a could-be backup QB. That is just too much, and the 49ers might have no choice but to deal him.

The Panthers would be taking more money back in a hypothetical Garoppolo-Darnold swap. Still, Carolina would be much improved with Jimmy G under center, and, who knows, they could even sneak into the playoffs in 2022.

The Panthers should think long and hard about acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo, no matter what the cost is

The 49ers and Panthers could exchange QBs.
Jimmy Garoppolo and Sam Darnold | Christian Petersen/John Byrum/ Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Panthers were hoping that Watson would choose Carolina. Well, he didn’t.

The Panthers now seem like an easy pick to select a QB in the 2022 NFL Draft, and both Malik Willis and Kenny Pickett are options at No. 6 overall. But, they might not be ready to start in their rookie season, and Rhule can’t afford to endure another losing season.

So, Garoppolo makes too much sense for Carolina, regardless of cost. If they can find a way to dump Darnold in the process, that should be a victory for the Panthers.

It is also worth noting that the Panthers have been restructuring contracts to create some more cap space.

Who knows, maybe Garoppolo is on their radar.

King’s proposal makes sense, and Darnold backing up Lance in San Francisco isn’t a bad option for Kyle Shanahan.

With the unpredictability of this NFL offseason, Garoppolo for Darnold would fit right into the fold.

Stats Courtesy of Pro Football Reference

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