There’s no shortage of speculation the SF 49ers could move on from Jimmy Garoppolo in 2021, prompting questions where he’ll go this offseason.
For starters, Hall of Famer Steve Young recently said on ESPN he doesn’t think Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan is getting everything he wants and needs from Jimmy G, prompting a possible change under center next year. Additionally, the salary cap-stressed 49ers could save $24.1 million against $2.8 million in dead money, should they elect to cut Garoppolo this offseason.
And then there’s the injury factor.
Garoppolo suffered a second high-ankle sprain in San Francisco’s Week 8 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, which could potentially end his season — and possibly his Niners career — should surgery be required. That, on top of his 2018 ACL tear, has shed some negative light on the quarterback’s durability under center and raises questions whether the SF 49ers are getting the kind of return for what was once the largest player contract signed in NFL history.
If the Niners move on from Garoppolo this offseason, that opens up a slew of questions about how they’ll replace him.
But it also prompts questions where Jimmy G winds up going next year, too.
Here are five possible landing spots.
All salary cap/contract figures courtesy of Over the Cap.
Jimmy Garoppolo Destination No. 5: Detroit Lions
There are a lot of X-factors in play here, so let’s pick apart the pieces.
One of those is speculation the Detroit Lions may consider some kind of move to trade away veteran quarterback Matthew Stafford this offseason, a would-be deal to shake up the team from top down and install some new pieces, possibly freeing up as much as $20 million next season for a team already projected to have $14.6 million in cap space.
The other wrinkle is whether or not Detroit stays committed to head coach Matt Patricia, whose 12-26-1 record at the helm of the Lions through two-plus seasons isn’t exactly inspiring.
But, if both would-be scenarios pan out — Stafford gone and Patricia staying in 2021 — Garoppolo to Detroit makes a lot of sense.
First, there’s the already-existent relationship between Jimmy G and Patricia from their days together with the New England Patriots. Detroit would be getting young, and likely cheaper under center, too, from the 32-year-old Stafford.
And that’s another bonus to consider.