The 49ers may be pressed to release Jimmy Garoppolo outright. And if they do, these four teams would pick up the phone right away to call the quarterback.
The San Francisco 49ers are eagerly awaiting the chance for a better trade market regarding veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
But they’re running out of time.
The Niners’ original plan, at least the one highly speculated, was to trade Jimmy G earlier this offseason and fully transition to the 2021 No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick, Trey Lance, yet Garoppolo’s offseason shoulder surgery and a slew of other obstacles ultimately left Garoppolo on San Francisco’s roster to this point just over a month out from training camp.
Equally caught in the conundrum is disgruntled Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, whose own situation with the Browns is made that much uglier with their presumed starter, Deshaun Watson, going through all kinds of off-field legal allegations.
Still, a poll from ESPN of NFL coaches, executives and agents suggested both Garoppolo and Mayfield are likely to be released this offseason instead of traded.
And if this winds up being the case for Jimmy G, these four not-interested-in-trading-for-him teams would happily consider negotiating their own contracts with Garoppolo’s camp directly.
Jimmy Garoppolo suitor No. 4: New England Patriots
There’s a good chance Garoppolo has to accept a new role as a backup this season, as the starter’s market has largely dried up. But, as we saw with now-Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Mitchell Trubisky this season, him taking a one-year role as Josh Allen’s backup with the Buffalo Bills last season led to yet another starting opportunity.
Perhaps that’s the context that puts Jimmy G on a course to reunite with his former head coach, Bill Belichick of the New England Patriots.
Belichick’s affinity for Garoppolo is nothing new, and there was once the plan for Jimmy G to be the heir apparent to then-Pats quarterback Tom Brady before Garoppolo was traded to the Niners in 2017.
Now, of course, New England is fully deploying its 2021 draft pick, Mac Jones, and nothing is going to change that setup.
But, if anything was to happen to Jones this season, journeyman signal-caller Brian Hoyer would be the go-to guy, and that shouldn’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence from Belichick.
Still, a one- or two-year demotion to backup status might help Garoppolo’s future in the long run, and he’d likely welcome the opportunity to return to a familiar landscape.