Jimmy Garoppolo despite his injury this season could be set to be a very hot commodity this offseason. Simply based on connections to coaching staffs or front offices alone there are several teams that could target Jimmy G as their quarterback. The Raiders, Jets, Titans, Vikings, Dolphins, Bengals, Patriots, Texans, and Rams all come to mind. Not all of these teams make sense but a few stand out as potential homes for the former second round pick.
Process of Elimination
Chances are we will not see the Dolphins, Bengals, or Vikings make a change at quarterback. The Rams only move on if Stanford decides to retire, but if McVay moves any ties to the offensive scheme Jimmy G had could be gone with the wind. Now teams like the Titans, Raiders, and Patriots have much bigger questions at quarterback with the Jets, and Texans are the most likely teams to look for an improvement.
Reunion in New England
Could the Patriots bring Jimmy G back to solidify their quarterback position after flip-flopping back and forth between Mac Jones, and Bailey Zappe this season? Why not just turn to an old friend that has proven to be consistent if nothing else? Jones could even be sent in exchange for Garoppolo to serve as an insurance policy behind Trey Lance.
With Lance yet to cement his status as the QB1 for San Francisco, the 49ers could see value in having Jones compete with Purdy as the backup behind Lance in 2023. With this many teams potentially interested, the Patriots would seem to be a bit of a long shot. If there’s one thing I know about Belichick, he wants to go out on top. Not on an early playoff exit, and teaming up with the former apple of his eye could be exactly what the doctor ordered for the anemic Patriots offense in 2023.
New York Jets Need Stability
The Jets played four different players at quarterback this season. Only Chris Streveler managed to complete over 60% of his passes, and he’s only attempted 15 of them. Joe Flacco, Zach Wilson, and Mike White each fell 58.9% or below. Wilson notched a team-worst mark of 54.6%. More importantly, the Jets struggled to protect the ball at quarterback.
Producing just 14 touchdown passes to 14 interceptions this season, this simply won’t cut it. On a team with high-level coaching, a well-rounded offensive unit, and a defense with the potential to be dominant this roster is begging for a veteran quarterback in the short term. Someone with a level of consistency, and a man who can win games.
Garoppolo is 40-17 as a starter, and has logged under 60% completion rate just once in a year he played just three games before the injury. He is noted for his efficiency often completing over 67% of his passes. He has never in his career thrown more interceptions than touchdowns holding an over 2 to 1 career touchdown to interception ratio. Is Jimmy G a top 5 quarterback in the NFL? Probably not, but even if he is top 15 that’s a large leap from anyone the Jets have placed under center for nearly a decade.
Jimmy G is the only Ten I See
The Titans are another playoff-caliber team hampered yet less than elite quarterback play. Vrabel and Jimmy G have no direct connections, but all it takes is a phone call to his former coach to get any information he would need. The big question here would be is Jimmy G is even an upgrade over Tannehill who could arguably be a more mobile version of Garoppolo, who has simply played on worse teams.
Ryan Tannehill may not have the win-loss record of Jimmy G, but he has the efficiency and touchdown to interception ratio as well. He has also produced at this level for a much longer period with 143 starts under his belt. If Tennessee moves on it won’t be for a while and it will likely be to a draft pick, whether that is Malik Willis or a future first-rounder.
Houston Looking to Upgrade
Houston is one of the teams that have an interesting decision to make. Davis Mills was never drafted to start. He was expected to be a backup behind Tyrod Taylor originally, however, Mills was inserted after an injury and the rest is history. Mills has now started 25 games in two seasons giving the Texans plenty of sample size to make an educated decision on his future.
If you ask me Mills is a very high-level number two quarterback who simply found himself on a team with no true QB1. Jimmy G is a true QB1, who would immediately relegate Mills to the bench. Mills has played solidly at times completing nearly 64% of his passes for just under 5,500 yards. However, the room for improvement lies in the turnover category.
He has thrown 30 touchdowns to 23 interceptions, adding 2 touchdowns on the ground but another 4 fumbles lost as well. 32 touchdowns to 27 interceptions simply won’t cut it. Now a lot of the onus could be placed on the offensive line given that he has been sacked 62 times in 28 appearances. One of the issues has been taking too long to throw whether it is due to play design or reading the field. We saw the effect of speeding up his clock against the Chiefs in December. Perhaps Jimmy G would be the perfect mentor for Mills.
Raiders Set to Send Carr on a Roadtrip?
Derek Carr is done with the Raiders. The McDaniels regime decided to bench Carr, opting to play a quarterback that McDaniels had a hand in drafting with New England. Jarrett Stidham may have set the precedent for the Raiders. Jimmy Garoppolo was drafted in the second round during the 2014 NFL Draft.
The offensive coordinator at the time? Josh McDaniels, it’s safe to say that McDaniels liked Jimmy G when selected. McDaniels and Garoppolo worked together from 2014-2017 before the trade that sent him to San Francisco. Since then McDaniels has dealt with the inconsistencies of Mac Jones, and Derek Carr, two quarterbacks that have been maddening as of late.
It seems clear that McDaniels isn’t going to hitch his career on the wagon of any quarterback he doesn’t believe in. We saw this in Denver when he traded away Jay Cutler for Kyle Orton, and I expect to see the same from him in 2023. Bringing in Jimmy Garoppolo makes a lot of sense, even if it’s simply a short-term solution. The question is does this affect the status of Davante Adams who wanted to be with the Raiders to reunite with his college quarterback?
Projecting the cost of trading for Jimmy Garoppolo can be difficult to say the least. I don’t expect him to go as cheap as he did in the Patriots and 49ers trade. A second round pick was too little to ask for a starting caliber quarterback, even if he was stuck as a back-up on your roster. I still believe the Patriots could have gotten a first round pick in return if they had been okay trading him within their conference. Regardless, this time around I expect a minimum of a first round pick to consummate this trade.
If you ask me, after what he has done since joining the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo’s floor is that of the return the Philadelphia Eagles got for Sam Bradford a few years ago. At the time Bradford was the incumbent starting quarterback until Carson Wentz was selected. Opting to start the rookie, the team traded away Bradford. In return they received a 1st and a 4th round pick in return from the Vikings. I do not expect a tremendous haul in return, because it’s inevitable that the 49ers move on from Garoppolo at some point, and they would rather get something, than just a compensatory pick in return. The trouble here, is the 49ers will be forced to franchise tag, or re-sign Garoppolo to get any sort of compensation in return. Something that could prove rather costly if a trade doesn’t materialize.
Luckily for them Trey Lance is still on a rookie deal giving them some flexibility to keep Jimmy G if the situation calls for it. Regardless where he ends up, I expect the 49ers to be looking at bringing in a veteran back-up. Perhaps someone like a Tyrod Taylor, a more mobile guy who can do a lot of the same things as Lance, and continue to develop Purdy as their long-term insurance plan should Lance not pan out how they hope. This will be one of the more interesting story lines to watch this offseason.