49ers news: Why an AFC team might not trade for Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers shakes hands with Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers shakes hands with Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

The 49ers are expected to trade Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, but a trade to the AFC might be a bit more challenging than originally anticipated.

If there’s good news for the San Francisco 49ers, it’s the reality they’ll have a hot market for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, whom they’ll almost assuredly move this offseason amid what’s turning into a weak quarterbacking market entering 2022.

With few centerpiece options in free agency and awfully questionable talent in this year’s NFL Draft, the sheer number of quarterback-needy teams won’t have too many options from which to choose.

And it’s likely a trade might be the only way a team can find a substantial upgrade under center.

There’s a long list of teams that could potentially be in the market for Garoppolo’s services, and the Niners could experience a beneficial bidding war. Ideally, San Francisco would trade Garoppolo out of the conference entirely, sending him over to one of the QB-hungry teams in the AFC.

However, there are reasons why it might be tougher for an AFC team to bite.

Why 49ers trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the AFC might prove difficult

There’s a massive disparity between the level of quarterbacks in the AFC and the NFC right now, and it’s not totally clear how that might impact the offseason quarterbacking market.

Either way, just think about some of the high-level quarterbacks playing in the AFC entering 2022:

  • Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
  • Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
  • Justin Herbert, Los Angeles Chargers

The list could grow longer if the New England Patriots’ Mac Jones and/or the Jacksonville Jaguars’ Trevor Lawrence turn into prolific signal-callers, too, suggesting the AFC is chock full of young and talented quarterbacks.

Not so much in the NFC.

This might be reason enough for NFC quarterbacks, such as the Green Bay Packers’ Aaron Rodgers or the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson, to want to stay put with their respective teams, especially not heading into the juggernaut that will be the AFC playoff race in 2022.

There are some AFC teams that are in dire need of a quarterback, such as the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos, while others like the Indianapolis Colts or Houston Texans could be seeking upgrades, too.

That said, knowing full well just how challenging it will be to go up against those other elite AFC quarterbacks, it’s feasible no AFC team wants to offer up a sizable draft-pick package to the 49ers for Garoppolo, knowing he’s a full tier or two below the likes of Mahomes, Allen, Herbert and Co.

Would a 49ers trade in the NFC work better for Jimmy Garoppolo?

This might be the case. The road to Super Bowl LVII is anticipated to be much easier in the NFC than the AFC next season, and it could make more sense for a quarterback-needy team in the NFC to pursue Garoppolo more aggressively.

Perhaps this is why the Washington Commanders have emerged as late front-runners for a would-be Garoppolo trade.

At the same time, since so much of this is a proverbial “double-edged sword,” the lack of elite quarterbacks in the NFC in contrast to the AFC might convince other teams within the Niners’ own conference to sit tight with their incumbent quarterbacks instead of seeking out an upgrade.

Read More: Comparing Jimmy Garoppolo trade value to other recent quarterback trades

Case in point, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles may want to simply stick it out with their respective quarterbacks, Daniel Jones and Jalen Hurts, entering 2022 instead of acting aggressively.

It’s hard to say.

Still, the offseason quarterback carousel figures to be a hot one anyway, and San Francisco still benefits from it being a weak market.

One that nevertheless has a number of X-factors at play, including the sheer number of top-end quarterbacks in the other conference.

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