Jimmy Garoppolo to follow Mike McDaniel to Dolphins?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

With Mike McDaniel leaving the 49ers to join the Dolphins, is it possible Jimmy Garoppolo winds up departing via trade to become Miami’s quarterback?

The San Francisco 49ers have already lost their offensive coordinator, Mike McDaniel, to become the Miami Dolphins‘ next head coach.

Soon, the Niners are going to move their quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, to open up the door for 2021 rookie signal-caller Trey Lance to take over the reins.

San Francisco will want to achieve two things with regards to its handling of Garoppolo this offseason. First, it’ll want to maximize whatever return possible via an offseason trade. Second, it’ll want to make sure Jimmy G goes to a good situation, not some dumpster-fire team amid a complete rebuild and in need of a quarterback.

On the surface, it might not appear as if McDaniel would want Garoppolo to join him in Miami. After all, if McDaniel was along for the ride as 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan increasingly grew tired of Garoppolo, why would McDaniel want to seal his immediate fate with a Niners castoff?

Perhaps more importantly, one could argue the reason McDaniel got the job was how convincing he was to Miami leadership he could work with the Dolphins’ current quarterback, Tua Tagovailoa, who did manage to show serious improvement after being labeled a near-bust early in 2021.

But are those reasons to completely write off the idea of Garoppolo following McDaniel to Miami?

Why Jimmy Garoppolo could join Mike McDaniel with Dolphins

As messy and, at times, odd the situation was in San Francisco with Garoppolo and Lance both in the fray, including the leadup to Lance being selected in the NFL Draft when the 49ers were reportedly interested in many a different quarterback, the Dolphins’ own handling of Tagovailoa was arguably worse.

Miami was also tied to numerous offseason quarterbacking rumors, all speculation it wasn’t happy at all with the way Tagovailoa was developing in the wake of his unspectacular 2020 rookie campaign.

Perhaps those rumors were quelled a bit in the wake of the Dolphins firing former head coach Brian Flores, leading to McDaniel’s hiring.

Yet McDaniel’s offense, likely a clone and eventual variation of Shanahan’s system, could easily be just as complex and difficult to master, meaning Garoppolo could end up serving as the preferred piece to implement it from the get-go.

Particularly if the compensation is good enough from the Niners’ vantage point.

In this case, though, the context would be McDaniel wanting to mesh his own quarterback with his system instead of it being the other way around: adjusting his offense to the skill set Tagovailoa has.

That’s the question.

Likelihood of Mike McDaniel sticking with Tua Tagovailoa, not Jimmy Garoppolo

McDaniel cemented his reputation for being one of the NFL’s brightest up-and-coming assistants over the course of 2021, going from a relative unknown to a suddenly hot commodity.

Still, with only one year’s experience as an offensive coordinator and never having previously served as a head coach, one might think the Dolphins would be hesitant to give McDaniel that much influence to make such a blockbuster move for Jimmy G.

Sure, Miami has the draft capital to make a trade with San Francisco. And with a league-high $63.7 million in cap space, per Over the Cap, the Dolphins would have plenty of room to absorb Garoppolo’s $25 million post-trade salary due in 2022.

Read More: Betting odds 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo to this team

Yet Miami has far more problems to worry about this offseason than at quarterback. Its offensive line, despite years of efforts, remains far from good, and the run game finished third worst in the NFL with 1,568 yards and averaged just 3.5 yards per carry in 2021.

Acquiring Garoppolo, thereby moving much-needed draft capital and eating up a sizable chunk of that cap space, would hinder McDaniel’s efforts elsewhere to help upgrade those needs.

Tagovailoa, entering year three of his four-year rookie contract (not including a fifth-year option) is still the cheaper route, and McDaniel could easily be as enticed to work with him as a preference over a would-be Garoppolo trade.

The only person who’d truly know what the preferred option would be is McDaniel, and even his preference might not be what the Dolphins front office wants anyway.

Next. 5 Niners who may follow Mike McDaniel to Dolphins. dark