Steelers Remain ‘Highly Intrigued’ by Trade-Ready QB: Report

Mike Tomlin

Getty Images Mike Tomlin works the sideline.

During the third week in February, The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami predicted that the San Francisco 49ers would trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to the Pittsburgh Steelers before the end of the month. A trade between the two teams hasn’t materialized, but according to Jordan Schultz of The Game Day NFL, it’s not because of a lack of interest on the part of the Steelers, who remain “highly intrigued by Jimmy G, according to sources.”

Schultz goes on to note that Steelers offensive coordinator Matt Canada “wants to deploy RPO (run-pass option),” which is “not dissimilar (to) the offense Garoppolo ran with the 49ers.”

New Report Confirms That Garoppolo Faces Shoulder Surgery

Even if the Steelers are interested in making a trade for Garoppolo, significant obstacles remain. For one, other teams may want to deal for the former second-round pick.

According to Schultz, the Washington Commanders also find Garoppolo an intriguing option. And on Tuesday March 1, ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter echoed the sentiment that multiple teams have expressed “significant interest” in Garoppolo.

More notably, in that same tweet Schefter reports that “Garoppolo injured his shoulder during the wild-card win over Dallas, per sources,” and that “(s)urgery is expected to happen shortly,” yet the surgery is not expected to impact his trade status.

As for the specifics of the injury, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network indicates that Garoppolo has a “torn capsule in his throwing shoulder,” and that he won’t be able to throw a football for approximately four months. As such “it would take at least a leap of faith but more hopefully some very real and precise medical information to make this trade,” he says.

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“Preliminary estimates are that Garoppolo is expected to resume throwing sometime prior to the July 4 holiday,” says ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter, before adding: “If and when a trade is consummated, Garoppolo would be available to begin working with the new coaching and medical staff.”

Jimmy Garoppolo’s Trade Value

As for what the Steelers might have to pony up to acquire Garoppolo in a trade, Kawakami said the cost of a “very good placeholder QB” like Garoppolo might be a 2022 fourth-round pick and a conditional 2023 selection, which could go as high as a second-rounder. However, that was before definitive news of Garoppolo’s surgery, which can’t possibly help the 30-year-old’s trade value, especially considering his extensive injury history, headlined by a torn ACL suffered in 2018—and now the injury to his throwing shoulder.

To facilitate a trade with the Steelers or another NFL team, the 49ers might have to retain financial responsibility for some of Garoppolo’s contract, much like Jacksonville did when the Steelers traded a 2022 sixth-round pick to the Jaguars for linebacker Joe Schobert last summer.

As for career numbers, Garoppolo has a 33-14 record as a starter, with a 67.7% completion percentage and 98.9 career passer rating, including a 98.7 rating in 2021. The Eastern Illinois product hasn’t been as good in the postseason, but that hasn’t stopped him from producing a 4-2 record in the playoffs, taking his team to the Super Bowl in 2019 and getting his team to the NFC Championship game in 2021. He also has two Super Bowl rings from his time with New England, where he served as a backup to Tom Brady for three years after the Patriots drafted him No. 62 overall in 2014.

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