Jimmy Garoppolo led his San Francisco 49ers to a second NFC Championship Game in three seasons. Despite starting 3-5, San Francisco got hot and was looking very much to be Super Bowl bound.
That’s when it all came crashing down against the Rams in the title game. Garoppolo struggled big time with San Francisco heading into the fourth quarter up 17-7. Likely his last throw as a member of the 49ers, the Super Bowl quarterback tossed up a prayer — ending up in an intereception.
Following the game, even Garoppolo touched on his shaky future with the 49ers. “We’ll see what happens in these next couple days, weeks, whatever,” the QB told reporters following the Rams loss.
Unfortunately for San Francisco, the market of quarterback-needy teams has thinned out since the start of the offseason. That includes the blockbuster trades of Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Matt Ryan and Carson Wentz.
There’s now a chance that San Francisco might have to bite the bullet and simply release Garoppolo. Then again, there’s still a few teams in desperate measures when it comes to the quarterback position. Below, we look at three of them.
Related: Updated NFL trade rumors
Jimmy Garoppolo dealt to Carolina Panthers
- Panthers get: Jimmy Garoppolo
- 49ers get: Christian McCaffrey, fourth-round pick in 2022
Carolina finds itself in desperation mode to land a starter-caliber quarterback following the failed Sam Darnold experiment. Unfortunately, the team still has to pay Darnold $18.86 million in 2022. It also lacks a ton of draft capital after sending two 2022 picks to the Jets for Darnold last offseason.
In this scenario, Carolina bites the bullet and pays out north of $40 million to its quarterback room next season as head coach Matt Rhule attempts to save his job. In the process, it offers up an injury-plagued Christian McCaffrey and a fourth-round selection.
Christian McCaffrey stats (2018-19): 2,485 rushing yards, 4.9 average, 223 receptions, 1,872 yards, 32 total TD
Just imagine a backfield consisting of a healthy McCaffrey and young stud Elijah Mitchell. Add in Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk and George Kittle at the skill-positions, and this would be an elite offense. The only thing potentially holding San Francisco back here is McCaffrey’s $8.4 million cap hit for an acquiring team and the fact that it needs to extend both Nick Bosa and the aforementioned Samuel this offseason.
Jimmy Garoppolo trade to the New Orleans Saints
- Saints get: Jimmy Garoppolo
- 49ers get: Adam Trautman, 2022 third-round pick
New Orleans is one of the teams that has been talking to the 49ers about Garoppolo. That should not come as a surprise with Taysom Hill as the only real “viable” quarterback currently on New Orleans roster. Even that’s debatable. Of course, the Saints could opt to re-sign Jameis Winston. But Garoppolo’s track record is much better than his younger counterpart.
Regardless of the flaws that Garoppolo boasts, he’d be seen as an upgrade over both Hill and Winston in Nola after the Saints missed out on Deshaun Watson. At the very least, a stopgap option for new head coach Denis Allen.
As for the 49ers, they acquire a third-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The Saints also offer up young tight end Adam Trautman to make it work.
Jimmy Garoppolo trade to the Atlanta Falcons
- Falcons get: Jimmy Garoppolo
- 49ers get: 2022 third-round pick
This scenario would include Garoppolo restructuring his contract and lowering the quarterback’s 2022 cap figure in order to help Atlanta. Remember, the Falcons took on a $40 million dead cap hit by trading Ryan. They really don’t have the financial resources to take on his $25 million cap figure as it stands now.
The idea from Atlanta’s perspective would be to transition from Garoppolo to an unnamed rookie following the 2022 season. The team will be in a better cap situation next March than it is in right now. At issue here is the Falcons’ status as a rebuilding team. Garoppolo simply might not be a fit.
Related: Top 200 NFL free agents of 2022