Six Potential Jimmy Garoppolo Landing Spots If 49ers Part Ways With QB

Where will Jimmy G play in 2022?


January 31, 2022

San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo era likely came to an end Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Its final act: a twisting, behind-the-back interception on third-and-13 that officially punched the Los Angeles Rams’ ticket to Super Bowl LVI.

The 49ers reached one Super Bowl and fell three points shy of another during Garoppolo’s 4 1/2 seasons in the Bay Area, but his durability concerns and limitations as a passer prompted San Francisco to trade its next two first-round picks to move up in last year’s draft and take his successor, Trey Lance.

Lance, the third overall pick, played sparingly as a rookie, but Garoppolo has been on borrowed time since his selection. Though he has one year remaining on his contract, the Niners almost certainly will trade or release the 30-year-old quarterback in the coming weeks or months. (Either avenue would free up $25.5 million in salary cap space while leaving behind just $1.4 million in dead money.)

The question, then, is where Garoppolo will land. Here are six teams that are or could be in the market for a new veteran QB this offseason:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Once the heir apparent to Tom Brady in New England, it would be oddly fitting if Garoppolo winds up succeeding Brady with the Bucs rather than the Patriots. Tampa would be in big trouble behind center if Brady does, in fact, retire this offseason, which is the expectation after Saturday’s flurry of conflicting reports. Second-round draft pick Kyle Trask is the only other Buccaneers QB currently under contract for 2022, and he didn’t dress for a single game as a rookie. Bringing in Garoppolo and seeing if Trask can develop behind him would be a logical move.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Another team that’s waving goodbye to a future Hall of Fame quarterback. With Ben Roethlisberger retiring, the next man up in Pittsburgh is Mason Rudolph, who’s looked like a below-average QB in his 10 career starts. The Steelers should be looking to draft their signal-caller of the future, but Garoppolo would be an immediate upgrade over Rudolph.

Washington Football Team
Taylor Heinicke’s outings this season ranged from great (23-for-33, 290 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions in a win over Atlanta) to horrendous (7-for-22, 121 yards, one touchdown, two picks in a blowout loss to Dallas) and everywhere in between. He’s under contract for 2022 but is far from a no-doubt starter. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who missed nearly all of this season with a hip injury, will be a free agent.

Houston Texans
Third-round rookie Davis Mills performed surprisingly well on a bad Houston team this season, but if the Texans want to bring in a veteran to compete with or start over him, Garoppolo would make sense as a target. Texans general manager Nick Caserio was heading up New England’s personnel department when the Patriots drafted Garoppolo in 2014, so there’s a connection there. Deshaun Watson is not expected to play another snap for the Texans.

Denver Broncos
Teddy Bridgewater is an impending free agent, and Drew Lock has been middling at best in his 21 career starts. Denver might be aiming higher than Garoppolo, though. With ex-Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett taking over as head coach, many expect the Broncos to stage an Aaron Rodgers pursuit.

Las Vegas Raiders
Going from Derek Carr to Garoppolo would be a downgrade, but it’s a possibility now that Josh McDaniels and Dave Zielger are in charge in Las Vegas. If McDaniels isn’t a Carr fan, he could trade the longtime Raiders starter, acquire some assets and bring in Garoppolo, who has experience in his offense. It’s unclear how McDaniels currently views Garoppolo, though, and whether he’d be interested in reuniting with the former Patriots draftee.

Other potential suitors: New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings

Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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