The 49ers have been patiently waiting to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, but with Deshaun Watson on the move and Baker Mayfield next, when will the Niners act?
Earlier this offseason, the two “shoes” that needed to fall before the San Francisco 49ers actively took the step of trading away quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo somewhere at the start of the 2022 league new year were star quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson.
Rodgers, of course, is sticking with the Green Bay Packers, while Wilson is off to the Denver Broncos.
But, if you thought those were the only proverbial dominos to fall before Garoppolo was moved, think again.
Another big sweepstakes player, quarterback Deshaun Watson, ultimately made his long-awaited decision on Friday to which team he’d like the Houston Texans to trade him, the Cleveland Browns, who were already at odds with their own quarterback, Baker Mayfield, after reports surfaced they were in on the Watson hunt.
Watson, after mulling his options between Cleveland, the Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, ultimately chose the Browns:
This new, relatively unforeseen development over the last few days will have an impact on Garoppolo’s market, too, taking away Cleveland as a potential suitor but adding (or at least ensuring) others are in the fray.
Especially with Mayfield wanting a trade.
His preferred destination? The Indianapolis Colts, a team that was also linked to many a Garoppolo trade rumor this offseason:
Perhaps Cleveland honors Mayfield’s wishes and trades him to Indy, which unloaded its former quarterback, Carson Wentz, to the Washington Commanders earlier.
Or, perhaps not. That’s yet to play out.
Either way, let’s break down a bit more about how all this impacts Garoppolo now and whether or not the Niners trading him will be imminent.
Jimmy Garoppolo possible trade destinations after Baker Mayfield is traded
The Colts reportedly soured on the idea of trading for Garoppolo despite those earlier links. So, assuming the Browns move Mayfield to Indianapolis, one can effectively cross the Colts off the list of plausible trade partners.
Same with Cleveland, too, obviously.
However, there are still plenty of quarterback-needy teams out there, and that might create the bidding war San Francisco was originally hoping for at the very beginning of the offseason.
As far as remaining teams that have a need and could be interested, here you go:
- New Orleans Saints
- Carolina Panthers
- Seattle Seahawks
- Atlanta Falcons
- Houston Texans
The Falcons still have quarterback Matt Ryan under contract. And while Ryan hasn’t publicly expressed a desire to be traded, as Mayfield did, it’s possible he wants that behind closed doors.
Atlanta, however, shouldn’t be perceived as being as desperate as other teams, though.
Same with Houston, which fielded a modestly impressive rookie last season, Davis Mills, under center. Whether or not the Texans want to continue their progress with Mills as QB1 is anyone’s guess, but one might factor a lack of desperation there, too.
That’d leave New Orleans, Carolina and Seattle.
It doesn’t seem likely the 49ers would trade Garoppolo within the division, although stranger things have happened. So the only two bona fide suitors would be the Panthers and Saints.
Does that mean a trade is imminent, though?
When will 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo?
Mayfield might have to be the next domino to fall before the Niners pull the trigger on dealing Jimmy G, barring some sort of lucrative contingency offer from a team like Carolina or New Orleans, which still doesn’t seem likely.
San Francisco could still be patient with Garoppolo even after Mayfield is traded, though, even if that could incur more risks with those still quarterback-needy teams potentially looking to find answers via an otherwise unimpressive 2022 quarterbacking NFL Draft class.
However, as was the case when the 2016 Minnesota Vikings lost quarterback Teddy Bridgewater to a season-ending knee injury during training camp, subsequently dealing a first-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for castoff QB Sam Bradford, perhaps the 49ers will be looking to take advantage of more desperation later this offseason.
Either way, if one had to make an educated guess, the bigger likelihood is the Niners’ timetable to move Garoppolo just sped up a lot with Watson going to the Browns and Mayfield imminently on the move.
So, don’t be surprised if Garoppolo winds up being traded sooner than later. Perhaps in the next week or so (although we’re not locking that into our prediction machine).