Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers must take advantage of Steelers QB issues

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers with Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers with Mason Rudolph #2 of the Pittsburgh Steelers (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers need to be monitoring some notably bad quarterbacking from the Steelers halfway through training camp.

Earlier this offseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers were deemed as a plausible trade-destination spot for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, namely in the wake of veteran Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement.

However, once the Steelers elected to ink former Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and then use a first-round NFL Draft pick on former Pitt signal-caller Kenny Pickett, talk of Garoppolo potentially going to the Steel City evaporated.

The Niners are electing to be patient with the 30-year-old Garoppolo, general manager John Lynch telling reporters such halfway through training camp. While the market on Jimmy G came to a grinding halt earlier this offseason, waiting to see how other teams’ quarterbacking situations pan out during camp might ultimately be the smart play.

Even if it was one of only a handful of options San Francisco had left.

Steelers dealing with serious quarterbacking issues in training camp

Trubisky has received the bulk of first-team reps during Steelers training camp thus far. But, according to The Athletic’s Mark Kaboly, these efforts haven’t exactly generated great results.

According to one camp report, Trubisky went a whopping 0-of-16 on 7-shot drills, prompting Kaboly to say, “but 0 for 16 is 0 for 16.”

Pickett, meanwhile, has also dealt with some notable rookie struggles, as pointed out by our FanSided colleague in attendance at Steelers training camp, Still Curtain’s Tommy Jaggi:

That’s essentially left fellow quarterback Mason Rudolph as Pittsburgh’s only other viable option to spark the competition.

Could Garoppolo and the 49ers take advantage?

Would Jimmy Garoppolo want 49ers to trade him to Steelers?

Garoppolo’s camp has already sought and received permission from the Niners to explore trades before the regular season commences in September.

A few teams potentially interested, such as the Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans, are in all-out rebuild mode, and neither seem to be of the context where Garoppolo would want to go, at least if he’s factoring in the chances of competing for a playoff spot anytime soon.

The Steelers are arguably the worst team in the AFC North entering 2022, yet head coach Mike Tomlin’s winning pedigree and the seemingly impossible ability to get the most out of a questionable roster should be attractive. Sure, Pittsburgh’s offensive line might be a question mark. But a yearly knack for identifying and developing top-flight wide receivers, plus a run-first offense under coordinator Matt Canada and with second-year tailback Najee Harris should assist, too.

Would Steelers actually want Jimmy Garoppolo, too?

It’s one thing for one side to prompt a trade, but the other side has to be willing.

The Steelers could (and arguably should) balk at the idea of trading for Garoppolo, sending off much-needed draft assets for a one-year rental who’s set to earn a $24.2 million base salary in the final year of his current contract.

Plus, considering how stacked not only the AFC North is, but the entire conference as a whole, would Garoppolo actually move the needle for Pittsburgh that much?

Probably not. However, in light of reports surrounding Trubisky and Pickett’s respective struggles, it’s worth entertaining. And while the Steelers have $14.34 million in cap space, according to Over the Cap, that number is still 10th most among teams entering the new season, and some minor roster jockeying is always on the table.

Related Story: Rethinking 4 teams that could trade for Jimmy Garoppolo

In terms of staying competitive, Garoppolo is surely an upgrade over either Trubisky or Pickett, especially right now for the latter. And while it’s feasible Pittsburgh would merely want to hold onto its draft assets and let the 2022 season play out as it may with the options currently on hand, pushing for Garoppolo would surely be worth the discussion.

Perhaps one both Garoppolo and the Niners would want to heavily explore.

Next. Ranking 49ers' 10 best quarterbacks in franchise history. dark