Where will Jimmy Garoppolo go?
The now-former 49ers quarterback won’t find his way back to the Bay Area, with Brock Purdy and Trey Lance firmly entrenched as San Francisco’s top two options entering 2023. Head coach Kyle Shanahan also made it clear that there wasn’t a scenario for Garoppolo to be back in San Francisco.
But, that’s not to say that Garoppolo isn’t a wanted man.
According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Garoppolo’s current market sits at three quarterback-needy teams: The Texans, Panthers and Raiders. All three make sense in some form or fashion. All three come with their own pitfalls, too.
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From a team standpoint, the risk with signing Garoppolo is that he isn’t the most durable passer in the league. He’s missed time in four of his five full seasons in San Francisco while nursing injuries. There’s also a matter of what Garoppolo would want to be at this point in his career. He’s likely staring down the last sizable contract of his career, which means he may want to go somewhere to win now, and stick for the future.
Here’s how his reported options break down.
Pros: Frank Reich is the new head coach in Carolina, and he has something of a history working with veteran QBs. Reich worked with Jacoby Brissett, Philip Rivers, Carson Wentz and Matt Ryan each for a year after the surprise retirement of Luck in 2019, to varying degrees of success. The Panthers also have a better roster than some have given them recognition for, and they play in one of the NFL’s weaker divisions. That seems like a good recipe for all involved.
Cons: Garoppolo would fit the Reich’s mold as a veteran, but it’s unclear if Carolina’s preference is to draft a passer or to dive into free agency. Maybe both would benefit them well in the long run, which would mean Garoppolo wouldn’t get a whole lot of leeway past 2023.
Las Vegas Raiders
Pros: Garoppolo’s name has been attached to the Raiders throughout the offseason, largely because of his connection with head coach Josh McDaniels. Garoppolo has a small sample size with McDaniels from their New England days, but would make for a cost-effective starter who is familiar with the McDaniels system.
Cons: The AFC West is loaded, and the addition of Sean Payton to the Broncos means that the Raiders may be the worst team in the division. Garoppolo is a good player, but he’s also not the type of quarterback to elevate teams — at least, not like two (and maybe three) of the other QBs in the division. The Raiders are also within striking distance of a quarterback in the 2023 draft, meaning Garoppolo may not have a lengthy stay as starter in Sin City.
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Pros: The Texans are, arguably, the most surprising team on the list, but Garoppolo also has a connection with new head coach DeMeco Ryans, who was the defensive coordinator with San Francisco for the past two seasons. As with the Raiders, familiarity certainly helps in this situation. The Texans also have the most cap space of the three teams on the list, meaning there may be a nice contract at the end of the tunnel for him.
Cons: Sitting at No. 2 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft, the Texans will likely want to make a move for a franchise passer, whether that’s C.J. Stroud or Bryce Young or the field. Such a move would Garoppolo a very short runway to stick as starter. Optimistically, that gives him a year at best, and maybe a half a season at worst.