Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports tested that theory on Friday, February 24 in a 2023 NFL free agency mock draft that features every prominent unrestricted free agent available, including Jimmy G.
And for this rare draft, Garoppolo becomes a top 30 prospect — and reunites with a former offensive coordinator of his.
Garoppolo to Miami, CBS Predicts
And at No. 26 overall, the Miami Dolphins select the free agent 49ers quarterback. Here’s why Benjamin has Garoppolo plugged to the AFC playoff team:
“They have a more immediate need at corner, where new coordinator Vic Fangio will attempt to revive their ‘D.’ But the Jimmy G connection makes too much sense: as much as this team is publicly committed to Tua Tagovailoa, the young QB cannot — and should not — be trusted to stay on the field. Garoppolo has his own availability concerns, but he’s at least guided multiple playoff runs in the 49ers system from which Mike McDaniel hails. At the very least, he’d be premium insurance at a premium position.”
Sure, Miami is running a big risk by adding an oft-injured quarterback to a room that dealt with their own highly-publicized injuries with Tagovailoa. However, Garoppolo fits in at South Beach for a variety of reasons.
For starters, he has obvious knowledge of McDaniel’s play calling and schemes, since McDaniel brought a 49ers-style attack over to Miami. It additionally helps that in the backfield, there’s past 49ers representation in Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson. The former New England Patriots QB Garoppolo would also return to a division he’s familiar with in the AFC East.
But the Dolphins also puts him in a situation where he doesn’t have to command being the No. 1 guy. He can be the instant fallback option if Tagovailoa goes down again…plus give McDaniel and Miami a past playoff quarterback to turn to.
Reunion With Another Ex-Coordinator Another Possibility
While Garoppolo is mocked to the Dolphins at No. 26 in a fan-style mock draft, Pro Football Network went with a more straightforward prediction on Wednesday, February 22: Garoppolo signs with the Las Vegas Raiders.
That would reunite him with his former offensive coordinator with the Patriots Josh McDaniels.
“The Raiders might try to swing a trade for Rodgers, but if they can’t land the future Hall of Famer, Jimmy Garoppolo could make for an intriguing fallback,” wrote PFN’s Dallas Robinson. “Las Vegas may have had designs on signing Tom Brady this offseason, but Garoppolo also has a long history with head coach Josh McDaniels, who was the Patriots’ offensive coordinator when they drafted Jimmy G in 2014.”
Adding Garoppolo, though, doesn’t rule out the possibility of the Raiders taking a quarterback at No. 7 overall in the April draft.
“Even if the Raiders sign Garoppolo, they could still conceivably draft a quarterback with the seventh overall pick,” Robinson continued. “Depending on how much interest Garoppolo receives this offseason, Las Vegas could ink him to a contract with an out after the 2023 campaign. That would allow the Raiders to deploy him as their starter for the upcoming season before turning to a de facto rookie in 2024.”