In an offseason littered with player movement, Jimmy Garoppolo remains a Niner. By the end of last season, it felt like a certainty that the 30-year-old quarterback had played his final game for San Francisco with the team set to roll out 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance as the full-time starter. While Lance’s ascension to QB1 looks to be on track, the shoe that sends Garoppolo to a new club has yet to drop.
Part of the reason why Garoppolo’s market has not yet heated up to the point of a deal being struck could be due to the fact that he underwent shoulder surgery this offseason. That has left Garoppolo unable to throw for the bulk of the offseason, so teams may be a bit weary to strike a deal until they see the quarterback reach that point in his recovery.
While speaking to the NFL Network, Garoppolo’s agent, Don Yee, said that the veteran is “progressing well and on schedule.” Yee added that they are also “optimistic about the upcoming season.” When the quarterback had surgery back in March, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan expected Garoppolo to be throwing by July, so it would seem like we are nearing that pivotal juncture.
With Garoppolo on the doorstep of getting back on the field, that could be the boost his trade value needs to facilitate a deal. The question now is: what club will take him on? As you scan the landscape across the NFL, there are not many routes to be a starter in 2022, especially after the Baker Mayfield trade to Carolina. There was scuttlebutt that the Buccaneers could trade for Garoppolo to serve as the backup and heir apparent to Tom Brady yet again as he did during their shared New England days, but Yee shut that report down.
“Over the weekend, a report came out that asserted that I had spoken to a media member about his future, but the report was false,” said Yee.
While Tampa may not be an option, the Seattle Seahawks could make sense if the 49ers outright cut Garoppolo and clear roughly $25 million in cap space. Seattle currently has Drew Lock and Geno Smith duking it out for Russell Wilson’s old gig and Garoppolo would be an upgrade over those two. If San Francisco is steadfast in getting some sort of return, the Browns are another team that could be in the Garoppolo trade mix if Deshaun Watson receives a significant suspension. Outside of an injury over the course of camp, those two spots appear to be the clearest path to Garoppolo starting.
Of course, trying to speculate where Garoppolo may land is a useless endeavor if he’s not on the field. Once he can show that he is fully recovered from that shoulder surgery, a conclusion to this saga should soon follow.