49ers NFL Draft trade No. 2: Jimmy Garoppolo, Sam Darnold swap with Panthers
OK, now we’re getting into the true NFL Draft blockbuster shakeups.
The Niners wanted to move quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo at the start of the league new year, but there were no bites. The Panthers, sitting on the cold reality Sam Darnold will have to play on his fifth-year option at a fully guaranteed $18.585 million for 2022, per Over the Cap.
Carolina would probably like to use the No. 6 overall pick on a quarterback who could at least sit behind Darnold for a year, then turn into a bona fide starter.
But, what if two (maybe three) quarterbacks end up being selected in the first five picks? It wouldn’t be out of the ordinary, as one NFL.com mock draft pointed out?
San Francisco would love nothing more than getting its hands on that No. 6 overall pick, but it wouldn’t be easy. Going bold, though, Garoppolo would be a massive upgrade over Darnold and a move that’d likely save Panthers head coach Matt Rhule’s job for another year. Carolina has cap space to absorb Jimmy G’s cap hit, too, while Darnold winds up serving as Trey Lance’s backup and the 49ers take on that $18-plus million cap hit but still saves $7 million by offloading Garoppolo’s $25.5 million post-trade salary.
Sort of an NBA-like deal where teams take on bad contracts.
The Niners’ first two picks would have to be tossed into the fray, too, of course. But for San Francisco, the 2022 NFL Draft would be about quality, not quantity.
It’s the other way around for the Panthers.