Jimmy Garoppolo should now want to sign with this AFC team
By Peter Panacy
With the 49ers ready to close the door on the Jimmy Garoppolo era, there are a few possible suitors out there, including this one AFC South squad.
The 2023 offseason quarterback market is going to be a wild one, potentially eclipsing the wildness that ensued a year ago back when the San Francisco 49ers were openly trying to trade their veteran quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo ultimately stayed one more year, of course, his trade suitors were deterred by offseason shoulder surgery.
Then, when fellow signal-caller Trey Lance suffered his own season-ending ankle injury in Week 2, Garoppolo was back under center as the Niners’ starter.
Only to have his own Week 13 foot injury derail his San Francisco swan-song campaign.
A free agent this offseason, the 31-year-old Garoppolo seems finally poised to leave the 49ers. Even if they wanted him back, why would he want to return? After all, following two awkward seasons of quarterbacking controversy, Jimmy G would likely prefer to leave the competition between Lance and 2022 rookie Brock Purdy trailing in the dust.
But, where would Garoppolo want to go?
It’s possible, perhaps even likely his market value isn’t as high as initially thought, and Garoppolo winds up struggling to find a new team. After all, Garoppolo is coming off yet another serious injury, and the Niners offense visibly improved with Purdy under center, averaging eight more points per game with the latter as opposed to the former.
However, if the market does pick up, Jimmy G might hope this particular AFC team comes calling.
Jimmy Garoppolo should want to join DeMeco Ryans, Texans in NFL free agency
Nope, this isn’t the first time the Houston Texans have been mentioned as a possible destination for Garoppolo. Even going back to last year, Houston could have been a viable landing spot. After all, Texans general manager Nick Caserio had a working relationship with Jimmy G back when both were with the New England Patriots.
The context is more beneficial to Garoppolo now than it would have been a year ago, too. Even NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo told Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero that joining Ryans in Houston would be a plausible idea:
For starters, Houston finally seems committed to a legitimate rebuild after having hired former San Francisco defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as head coach right after the 49ers were eliminated in the playoffs.
Read More: Jimmy Garoppolo headlines 49ers’ list of notable free agents in 2023
To stress that familiarity and continuity even more, Ryans brought over the Niners’ former pass game coordinator, Bobby Slowik, to serve as the Texans’ new offensive coordinator.
In addition to those connections, Houston has well over $37 million in salary-cap space, per Over the Cap, so dishing out a solid contract to Garoppolo wouldn’t be a problem whatsoever.
Tack on the reality that the AFC South isn’t exactly a juggernaut of a division, and landing Garoppolo could actually turn the Texans into a playoff contender in year one of Ryans’ reign.
Garoppolo, meanwhile, would get his fresh start but have plenty of familiar faces surrounding him amid a rebuild that wouldn’t have too lofty of expectations right out of the gate and would still pay him well enough.
It’d be a perfect match.