Jimmy Garoppolo Suitor No. 2: Carolina Panthers
The Carolina Panthers, just like the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints, were also in on the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes. Unlike the Falcons and Saints, though, the Panthers didn’t go with any contingency plans, whereas Atlanta traded off quarterback Matt Ryan to the Indianapolis Colts and subsequently signed backup signal-caller Marcus Mariota, while New Orleans is bringing back quarterback Jameis Winston.
Carolina is poised to enter 2022 with flameout quarterback Sam Darnold under center, which isn’t the most ideal of options for head coach Matt Rhule, who’ll enter the season on the hot seat. And while the Panthers are committed to Darnold’s fully guaranteed fifth-year option, trading him away would free up the bulk of that contract.
If there was only another option available.
Considering the weakness of quarterbacks in the NFC South (outside of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Tom Brady‘s return from retirement), Carolina could and should see Garoppolo as a massive upgrade over Darnold, potentially putting a run-first offense into Wild Card contention within the conference, thereby potentially saving Rhule’s job.
The Panthers may not want to dish out the limited NFL Draft capital they currently have for a Jimmy G trade.
But signing him to a free-agent deal would certainly be in play.