NFL Exec Calls Jimmy Garoppolo a Fit for AFC East Contender

Jimmy Garoppolo

Getty Jimmy Garoppolo looks to the sidelines during the NFC divisional round playoff game at Green Bay on January 22, 2022.

The San Francisco 49ers granted quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo permission to seek a trade, on July 20, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter. But, sources inside the NFL don’t expect a deal to be imminent.

“San Francisco is in a tight, tight, tight spot,” an NFC personnel executive told Heavy, on the condition of anonymity because he isn’t authorized to speak publicly about Garoppolo. “It’s either going to come down to trading him, or cutting him. And they’re going to lose the trade, no matter what.”

After the Carolina Panthers traded for Baker Mayfield, in a deal with the Cleveland Browns on July 6, Garoppolo, who is 33-14 as a starter, remains to last veteran quarterback standing on the market.

“He’s got a really good win-loss record, which is really awesome in the NFL,” the executive said. “But, he’s just a guy. He’s not even as good as a Matt Hasselbeck was.”

Why San Francisco 49ers May Struggle to Trade Garoppolo

Garoppolo underwent shoulder surgery in March, and the executive believes not only that the injury has caused the 30-year-old signal caller’s market to plummet, but also that the 49ers might even be amenable to allowing teams to work out Garoppolo before consummating any deal.

Just two years removed from Garoppolo passing for a career-high 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns to 13 interceptions, while leading the 49ers to a Super Bowl berth in 2019, San Francisco appears primed to pass the baton on to Trey Lance. The Niners traded up to the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, and the North Dakota State product appeared in just six games as a rookie, competing a meager 57.7% of his passes for 603 yards with 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.

“For the Niners, at this point, it’s about getting whatever they can get, because they have absolutely no leverage whatsoever,” the executive told Heavy. “Their only saving grace is if one team loses their starter early in training camp.

“I would tell him to show up to training camp, that our doctors are going to be here, that we’ll rehab his shoulder some more, and see what happens as far as the market goes.”

As training camps are opening across the league next week on July 27, teams in search of quarterback depth, a bridge starter, or the aforementioned replacement for an injured passer may kick the tires on Garoppolo.

Just as they did for Mayfield, the Seattle Seahawks are a fit for Garoppolo from a scheme and need perspective. Meanwhile, the Browns could make some sense as a possible landing spot for Garoppolo, as well. Especially, if Cleveland is looking for an insurance policy on Deshaun Watson possibly being suspended for half a season, or more.

However, the executive believes that a reunion of sorts could be in the works for Garopplo in the coming months.

Mike McDaniel, Garoppolo Reunited With the Dolphins?

Because interest in Garoppolo has been so tepid all offseason, perhaps a “surprise” destination for the veteran wouldn’t be all that surprising.

The Miami Dolphins have been linked only in passing to Garoppolo, but given new head coach Mike McDaniel’s familiarity with Garoppolo from his time as Kyle Shanahan’s offensive coordinator, perhaps a South Beach reunion could be in the cards.

“I know this,” the executive told Heavy. “Jimmy G is way more liked in league circles, as a player, than Tua is. He’s accomplished way more, and that matters at that position, almost more than anything else. And, remember, Mike McDaniel knows Jimmy really well.”

Miami pushed all their chips into the middle of the table this offseason; trading for All-Pro wide receiver Tyreek Hill, signing versatile running back Chase Edmonds, and perhaps the biggest splash of all, inking All-Pro offensive tackle Terron Armstead to a massive contract in free agency to fill a massive void.

If McDaniel isn’t confident that Tua Tagovailoa is capable of not only keeping Miami’s Ferrari of an offense on the road but helping it reach peak performance, Garoppolo’s competence in his scheme might be exactly what the Dolphins need to pose a legitimate threat to the Buffalo Bills‘ reign in the AFC East.

“With a new head coach, all he cares about is winning and winning now,” the executive said. “He could be looking at Tua, shaking his head and saying ‘eh, I don’t know.’ Maybe he loves him … But, if he hasn’t seen enough from him during workouts or OTAs, this is his honeymoon with that ownership and front office, make the deal now.”

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