Why these 4 teams could trade for Jimmy Garoppolo (and why they didn’t)

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Sam Darnold, Carolina Panthers
Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold (14) Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports /

Jimmy Garoppolo trade destination No. 3: Carolina Panthers

The Carolina Panthers were another team reportedly in on the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, and it makes perfect sense as to why.

For starters, and despite quarterback Tom Brady returning out of retirement to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the NFC South is still an awfully weak division, and Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has to make a splash this offseason to avoid the pitiful collapse that plagued Carolina last year and to get himself off the coaching hot seat.

And if we found out anything in 2021, quarterbacks Sam Darnold and Cam Newton weren’t it.

Jimmy Garoppolo would arguably be a better fit with the Panthers than he would be with the Texans, and Carolina’s roster boasts far more talent, too.

Why Panthers trade for Jimmy Garoppolo

The Panthers aren’t a quarterback away from contention, no, but adding Jimmy G would help solve a big piece of the puzzle. And while Garoppolo certainly won’t push Carolina into being division favorites, the NFC as a whole is the weaker conference, and a Wild Card spot surely would be in play.

Plus, who wouldn’t mind seeing Garoppolo versus Brady twice a year in a Patriots-like reunion matchup?

Why Panthers don’t trade for Jimmy Garoppolo

Cap space isn’t an issue for the Panthers, but boasting enough compensation to convince the 49ers to make a deal is.

Carolina owns the No. 6 overall pick in the 2022 draft, and the Niners would love to get their hands on that. But the Panthers would be silly to trade it, and they aren’t slated to draft again until Round 4, meaning San Francisco would either have to settle for that as compensation or bank on a better pick in 2023, which doesn’t seem likely.