The 49ers are no longer Jimmy Garoppolo’s team. Kyle Shanahan made it clear during a press conference yesterday, that they are moving on to Trey Lance. Shanahan’s words raise the question that has been brought up consistently since the end of last season’s NFC Championship Game: What now for Garoppolo?
Garoppolo has seen his options continue to dwindle in an offseason of heavy quarterback movement. Wins are not a quarterback stat, but it is striking at this point in the calendar to see a player who has enjoyed his level of success (when healthy) struggling to find a new team.
"This is Trey's team."
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) July 26, 2022
Garoppolo’s offseason shoulder surgery seemingly scared teams off from making a deal for him. Now, his durability issues will be at the forefront of any franchise considering acquiring him.
A few teams have remained the subject of Garoppolo’s buzz despite his apparent lack of options. We picked out five teams and ranked them in order of which would do the most to revitalize Garoppolo’s career.
Though the Texans seemingly have a great deal of belief in Davis Mills, Houston still stands out as an obvious destination for Garoppolo. He would be an upgrade on Mills and has a prior connection with General Manager Nick Caserio.
However, it’s tough to look at the Texans’ roster and view a trade to Houston as beneficial for his career. Their roster lacks talent, has a questionable offensive line besides Laremy Tunsil and a paucity of dynamic options at the skill positions.
Garoppolo would not be entering a scenario where he’s set up to succeed despite having a respected Quarterback Coach in Pep Hamilton.
With a veritable buffet of draft selections throughout the next two years, the Texans have the capital to select a long-term franchise quarterback. Garoppolo would only be a stopgap in Houston, and that bridge year would likely do little for his value around the NFL.
The Falcons are not a team many would have expected to be in the running for Garoppolo after signing Marcus Mariota and drafting Desmond Ridder.
Yet, Atlanta is rumored to be in the mix for Garoppolo, and, from his perspective, the Falcons would present at least an acceptable situation. The Falcons possess exciting playmakers for Garoppolo to target in the form of Kyle Pitts, Drake London and Cordarrelle Patterson.
Kyle Pitts was in a league of his own among rookie tight ends in recent history. 🚀🚀🚀 pic.twitter.com/nHecyMMJmb
— Nathan Jahnke (@PFF_NateJahnke) July 19, 2022
With a quick release – his average time to throw was 2.67 seconds last season, per NextGen Stats – to negate the pressure he would likely face playing behind the Falcons’ offensive line, Garoppolo could thrive operating in Arthur Smith’s offense.
Garoppolo’s experience working with play-action concepts also makes him a fit for Smith’s offense. He would be looking at a bridge role in Atlanta, but the personnel and offensive scheme would be conducive to him improving his stock with a statistically strong 2022.
It doesn’t appear as if the Browns are prepared to trade for Garoppolo to provide extra insurance in case Deshaun Watson receives a lengthy suspension. Jacoby Brissett looks set to keep the seat warm for Watson once the league decides on the latter’s punishment.
Garoppolo might not want the attention that would come with joining the Browns’ roster amid the Watson saga. However, the Browns present the best chance for him to win and improve his reputation in league circles.
Cleveland uses a Kyle Shanahan-esque offensive system, boasting arguably the best run game in the NFL, with a strong offensive line and playmakers in Amari Cooper and David Njoku.
On top of that, the Browns’ defense was 11th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA last year and has the talent up front and in the secondary to join the NFL’s elite.
From an on-field perspective, the Browns offer Garoppolo the best situation. It is the drama of the Watson episode, which could drag on into the season, that makes Cleveland a slightly less attractive destination than it should be.
New York Giants
The Giants are set on starting Daniel Jones for the final year of his rookie deal with Tyrod Taylor serving as the experienced backup, who knows Brian Daboll’s system.
There does not seem to be an opening for a Garoppolo trade since he can’t come in and compete for a job. Yet, if an opportunity developed in New York, it would be an attractive one.
Daboll is one of the brighter offensive minds in the game, and the Giants have an ascending offensive line along with some promising pass-catching options.
The Giants’ defense should improve with the arrival of Kayvon Thibodeaux, who will be molded by an experienced coordinator in Wink Martindale.
— NFL (@NFL) April 27, 2022
There are several signs pointing to the Giants starting to turn things around with Daboll, and the chance to revitalize a storied franchise in the league’s biggest media market should entice Garoppolo. Garoppolo would get a shot to inflate his value for 2023 by putting a young Giants team on the right track.
If he helped the Giants exceed expectations and take them out of the running for one of the top 2023 quarterbacks, Garoppolo may have a chance at becoming the long-term starter, albeit for less money than he earned with the Niners.
The makeup of the depth chart suggests a Garoppolo trade at this point would make little sense for the Giants. For Garoppolo, though, there is only one move that would present a better alternative.
The best trade for Garoppolo is the one most expect the 49ers won’t do.
In-division trades remain rare, and the prospect of shipping Garoppolo to Seattle and enabling him to succeed for a division rival is unlikely to be one San Francisco is willing to countenance.
Such a controversial trade coming to pass would also be reliant on the Seahawks committing to winning this year. Seattle appears comfortable committing to a transition year with Geno Smith and Drew Lock competing for the starting job.
But, in a hypothetical world where these two fierce rivals are willing to do business, there is no better place for Garoppolo to land. He would join a team staunchly committed to the run and possesses an ultra-talented wide receiver duo in D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
Additionally, the marriage between Garoppolo and Seahawks Offensive Coordinator Shane Waldron – a disciple of Sean McVay – would likely yield more positive results than that of Waldron and Russell Wilson.
The likely approach for the Seahawks in 2023 is they will look to take one of the top quarterbacks in the draft. A 2022 season where they land Garoppolo and contend could convince John Schneider and Pete Carroll to stick with him instead and use their draft capital to address other needs.
Seattle could offer Garoppolo the chance to start in 2022 and, if successful, perhaps beyond with a talented offense in a system he is familiar with. Yet, that opportunity is more likely to come via the Niners releasing Garoppolo than doing business with a hated rival.