Jets Predicted to Sign ‘Top Free Agent’ QB to $15 Million Contract

Robert Saleh, Jets

Getty New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh.

The New York Jets might be going back to a familiar name to fill the QB1 role in 2023.

“The Jets will sign [Jimmy] Garoppolo in free agency,” ESPN’s Aaron Schatz wrote in story published January 29. “It simply makes too much sense not to happen, especially since [Robert] Saleh is familiar with his game from his time in San Francisco.”

Garoppolo, the 31-year-old quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, will receive a one-year deal for $15 million, including $12 million guaranteed, according to a projection by Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger.

With Tom Brady’s retirement on February 1, Garoppolo becomes “potentially the top free-agent quarterback who will actually hit the open market,” Spielberger wrote.

The Jimmy Garoppolo-New York Jets Dream Remains Alive

Once it became apparent that Zach Wilson would no longer be the QB1 in 2023, some fans connected the dots to Garoppolo. But then, on January 11, the Jets fired offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur, who worked with Garoppolo in San Francisco as passing game coordinator and wide receivers coach from 2017 to 2020, and it seemed that a potential pairing with the Jets died.

But, still, Garoppolo, 31, “matches the profile” of what the Jets are looking for, CBS Sports’ Tyler Sullivan wrote on February 1,  listing the team as a logical landing spot this offseason.

In his nine years in the NFL, Garoppolo has thrown for over 14,289 passing yards, owns an 87 touchdown-to-42 interception ratio and has completed 67.6% of his passes.

The only real chink in the Garoppolo armor is his durability. Since entering the league in 2014, he has made through a full season as a starter only once in his career, the year the 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl (2019).

Jimmy Garoppolo Is the Most Realistic Option for Jets at QB

Several different players — including Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Derek Carr — have been as discussed this offseason as a possible replacement for Wilson. Most of them would require a trade. Garoppolo, however, will become a free agent after the Super Bowl.

Signing Garoppolo would require only money, not draft assets. Hanging on to its draft picks would give the Jets an opportunity to build around Garoppolo.

“Over the past two seasons, Garoppolo’s 8.3 yards per attempt is the top mark in the NFL, and he gets the ball out quickly with a 2.53-second average time to throw that is among the 10 fastest over the span. He may not elevate an offense, but he can certainly keep one on schedule and raise a team’s floor,” Spielberger wrote in a January 23 ranking of the top 100 players about to enter free agency.

There’s almost no chance that Garoppolo would return to the 49ers. When he re-signed with the team last season after they failed to find a trade partner San Francisco renegotiated his deal. As part of those discussions, Garoppolo stipulated that he would not be eligible for the franchise tag.

Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan said he couldn’t envision bringing back Garoppolo in 2023. “No, I don’t see any scenario of that,” Shanahan said, according to an ESPN story published February 1.


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