49ers Free Agent Named ‘Riskiest Player in 2023 Class’

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers

Getty Jimmy Garoppolo and Mike McGlinchey of the San Francisco 49ers celebrating a play.

With 22 players set to hit free agency heading into the 2023 NFL calendar year, San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch is going to have some serious decisions regarding how he chooses to re-configure the team’s roster moving forward, with more than a few familiar faces likely ending up in other uniforms by Week 1.

Other teams will also evaluate the 49ers’ impending free agent class in order to find the missing pieces to their rosters, but one player who may give opposing GMs pause, at least according to Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report is Jimmy Garoppolo, who he named the riskiest free agent in the entire class in his “Ranking Riskiest Players in 2023 NFL Free-Agent Class” article.

Far more teams are in need of quarterback help than that. As openings are filled and the talent pool dwindles, some team might talk itself into giving Jimmy Garoppolo north of $30 million per season.

Garoppolo isn’t a bad quarterback by any stretch. The 31-year-old has thrown over twice as many touchdown passes as interceptions, has a career passer rating of just under 100 and is 40-17 as a starter in the regular season. However, that sterling win-loss record says as much about the team around him in San Francisco as Garoppolo himself.

Garoppolo is a good player, but he isn’t a great one, and durability has been a major concern. He has missed 18 games over the past three seasons and is coming off a season-ending foot injury.

Garoppolo is a capable veteran and a decent bridge option. But he won’t single-handedly turn an also-ran into a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

Though the 49ers have already closed the door on Garoppolo returning in 2023, with Lynch saying as much in his post-season press conference, the veteran passer has been linked to multiple teams heading into free agency, with the Houston Texans and their offensive coordinator letting it be known that the rumors are very much rooted in legitimate interest.

Bobby Slowik is a Serious Fan of the San Francisco 49ers’ ex-QB

Despite the fact that teams aren’t technically allowed to talk to free agents until March 13th at 12 pm EST, that didn’t stop Bobby Slowik, the offensive coordinator for the Houston Texans, from letting it be known to reporters that Garoppolo is “part of the team’s process” moving forward.

“We have a process that we go through,” Slowik said via Texans beat writer Brooks Kubena on Twitter. “Jimmy is obviously a part of that process.”

Does Slowik mean Garoppolo is part of the team’s evaluation process as in they are evaluating him as a potential free agent signee, or do they already have a verbal agreement in place with the quarterback new head coach DeMeco Ryans used to share plans with on the way to 49ers games? Fans will have to wait until between March 13th and March 15th to find out.

ESPN Considers Jimmy Garoppolo a Top-50 Free Agent

Evaluating the free agent class in order to identify the cream of the crop for an ESPN article fittingly dubbed “2023 NFL free agency: Ranking top 50 available players,” Matt Bowen named Garoppolo the 25th-ranked available player in the 2023 class and the fifth-ranked quarterback behind Lamar Jackson, Geno Smith, Derek Carr, and Daniel Jones.

“Garoppolo completed 67.2% of his passes with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in 11 games before a foot injury ended his season,” Bowen wrote. “He’s still a good passer who can be a mid-tier starter on the market. He is a timing-and-rhythm thrower who fits best in an offensive system tailored around the play-action route tree. The injury history factors into his ranking here, but make no mistake: He will have suitors on the market.”

After watching the Carolina Panthers acquire the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL draft from the Chicago Bears, teams like the Indianapolis Colts and Texans may have to select a quarterback who either isn’t their first choice or might need some further seasoning heading into the regular season. If that happens, Garoppolo may find himself not only with suitors on the market but ones who are willing to pay for a stopgap starter.

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