The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are considered a potential destination for a two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback.
If the San Francisco 49ers release Jimmy Garappolo, the Bucs could be one of several teams that might target him – perhaps as a starter of the future, Dan Graziano of ESPN wrote on June 10. The Bucs also could target Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield for the same reason, assuming Tampa Bay’s current starter, Tom Brady, retires after the 2022 season.
“This is an example of a place where Mayfield or Garoppolo wouldn’t start right away but could position himself as the team’s starter in 2023, the way Winston did with the Saints in 2020,” Graziano wrote. “That could be possible elsewhere, including with the Buccaneers, Eagles, Cardinals, Titans and Raiders.”
Graziano speculated the only way Garoppolo would land in Tampa Bay is through a signing because the 49ers would rather release him than trade him, just as the Browns are expected to wind up releasing Mayfield rather than trading him.
“The majority of the people to whom I spoke for this story believe both players will likely end up being released,” Graziano wrote. “A couple of people thought Garoppolo might still draw trade interest, provided an acquiring team could work out something to knock down the salary or spread it out over a couple of years.”
Jimmy G Would Be Upgrade Over Bucs’ Current Backups
According to Pro Football Focus, Garoppolo earned a 74.9 offensive grade last season, ranking 16th among all quarterbacks with at least 150 dropbacks. During the 2019 season, Garoppolo earned a 77.9 offensive grade, ranking 13th among all quarterbacks.
In other words, Garoppolo would represent an upgrade over Brady’s backups on the Buccaneers, 32-year-old journeyman Blaine Gabbert and unproven 2021 second-round pick Kyle Trask.
Garoppolo’s limitations include struggling with turnovers at the worst of times — he threw an interception to seal the game versus the Los Angeles Rams in last season’s NFC Championship — but his success leading teams can’t be ignored.
Garoppolo Entered NFL as Brady’s Backup
The Buccaneers’ acquiring Garoppolo, 30, would be an ironic twist considering that he served as Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots during the first three seasons of his career. He was initially drafted in 2014 in the second round to serve as Brady’s successor. If he were to go to the Buccaneers, he would literally fill that role for the second time in his nine-year career.
Garappolo has been available via trade since the start of the offseason, but shoulder surgery and an active carousel of quarterbacks have led to diminished interest in the former Super Bowl starter.
Garoppolo has struggled to stay healthy over the course of his career, suffering major injuries in two of his last four seasons as starter for the Niners. Garoppolo has missed 25 games of a possible 65 games during the past four years.
However, when he’s healthy, there’s no doubting his abilities. Garoppolo led the Niners within one touchdown of winning the 2019 Super Bowl. In 2021, he led San Francisco to a 10-7 regular season and playoff wins against the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers.
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