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Carolina Panthers team to watch in Jimmy Garoppolo trade talks

Vincent Frank

The Carolina Panthers might very well roll with Sam Darnold and rookie third-round pick Matt Corral as their top quarterbacks heading into Week 1 against the Cleveland Browns.

At the very least, Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer has pushed back against pulling off a trade for either Baker Mayfield or Jimmy Garoppolo thus far in the offseason.

As it relates to Mayfield, the finances seem to be a major issue between Carolina and the Cleveland Browns. He’s set to earn north of $19 million in 2022 with the Browns reportedly willing to pay more than half of that. Carolina has not bit.

Could this mean Jimmy GQ is about to head to the Panthers ahead of training camp? According to Joseph Person of The Athletic, Garoppolo might be a good fit in new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system. The one hiccup is off-season shoulder surgery Garoppolo underwent and some concern on the part of the Panthers. With the veteran set to resume throwing here soon, said concern could be alleviated.

“But with another month to heal before camps start, the Panthers could rethink their stance on the San Francisco quarterback, who helped lead the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game twice in the past three seasons.”

Report on Carolina Panthers interest in Jimmy Garoppolo

To be fair, Garoppolo would be a dramatic upgrade over Darnold in Carolina. Mayfield would be, too. With that said, finances could play a role here. Carolina is not going to trade for Garoppolo at his current cost of roughly $24.2 million for an acquiring team.

The Super Bowl-quarterback would have to restructure his contract and lower said cap hit. Meanwhile, the 49ers might be forced to take on Darnold and some of his contract to make this work.

Related: Matt Corral and the Carolina Panthers QB situation

Carolina Panthers are a team to watch in Garoppolo “sweepstakes”

NFL: Carolina Panthers at San Francisco 49ers
Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not a coincidence that this report comes on the heels of ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler suggesting Carolina is the one team to keep an eye on over the next month or so.

“Still watch for Carolina here because they’re the team that’s combing through the veteran quarterback market more than anybody else. They’ve been implicated with Baker Mayfield, but they’ve also discussed Garoppolo.”

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler on Carolina Panthers QB situation (h/t Bleacher Report)

Garoppolo, 30, is coming off a 2021 campaign that saw him complete 68% of his passes for 3,810 yards with 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions en route to leading San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game.

As for Darnold, he was a disaster in his first season with Carolina. The former New York Jets top-three pick threw nine touchdowns while turning the ball over 16 times in 12 games.