Jimmy Garoppolo is playing some spledid football and has his San Francisco 49ers as one of the hottest teams in the NFL heading into the stretch run.
That wasn’t always the case. Earlier this season, people were calling for San Francisco to bench Garoppolo in favor of rookie No. 3 pick Trey Lance. That now seems like a distant memory.
Even then, it remains highly unlikely that Garoppolo will return to the 49ers for the 2022 season. They exhausted three first-round picks and a third rounder to nab Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft. Short of a Super Bowl run, he will likely be calling another NFL city home next season. Here, we look at four ideal trade scenarios.
Jimmy Garoppolo trade to the Houston Texans
- Texans get: Jimmy Garoppolo
- 49ers get: Second-round pick, future conditional mid-round pick
Rookie third-round pick Davis Mills has played well at times this season. However, there’s no telling whether he’s a long-term solution for general manager Nick Caserio. What we do know is that Houston will be forced to trade franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson during the off-season should the civil cases he’s facing stemming from sexual misconduct allegations be settled in his favor. If not, Watson is unlikely to play in the NFL again.
Jimmy Garoppolo stats (2021): 67.4% completion, 3,172 yards, 21 total TD, 8 INT, 100.7 rating
Garoppolo has a built-in relationship with Nick Caserio dating back to their days with the New England Patriots. In fact, he joined a front office that initially pushed back against dealing the quarterback to San Francisco during the 2017 season. Acquiring the veteran at the cost of a second-round pick and change would be a coup for a rebuilding Texans squad.
Jimmy Garoppolo trade to Washington Football Team
- Washington gets: Jimmy Garoppolo
- 49ers get: Kendall Fuller, third-round pick
Washington has seen Ryan Fitzpatrick, Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen and Garrett Gilbert all take snaps under center this season. All of that comes after the team showed some interest in acquiring Deshaun Watson this past off-season. Short of a blockbuster trade for someone of his ilk, Washington might not be able to do better than Garoppolo. It also has the talent to be a playoff team with above-average quarterback play.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s past seven starts: 70.2% completion, 1,744 yards, 12 TD, 4 INT, 108.3 rating
As for the 49ers, it’s become clear that cornerback is their Achilles’ heel. Any playoff-contending team starting Josh Norman sets themselves up for postseason disaster in January. Fuller would immediately become a starter for the win-now team next season. A trade of this ilk also works out financially for both Washington and San Francisco.
Related: Updated NFL Week 15 power rankings
Jimmy Garoppolo trade to the New Orleans Saints
- Saints get: Jimmy Garoppolo
- 49ers get: second-round pick, 2023 fourth-round pick
If Sean Payton and the Saints can even find decent starting quarterback play, they will end up being Super Bowl contenders in the NFC. We’re talking about an elite-level defense with an offensive scheme that fits to Garoppolo’s limits skill-set in the first place. That is to say, yards after the catch and some solid skill-position talent.
The only real hiccup here is whether San Francisco will want to do business in the NFC. Remember, New England moved Garoppolo to the 49ers years ago. A lot of that had to do with Bill Belichick not wanting to trade him within the conference.
Jimmy Garoppolo trade to the Pittsburgh Steelers
- Steelers get: Jimmy Garoppolo
- 49ers get: Second-round pick, Mason Rudolph
We’re now entering Ben Roethlisberger’s final few games as an NFL player. The two-time Super Bowl champion privately told his Steelers teammates that he plans on retiring after the season. And so ends one of the best runs in franchise history.
It seems highly unlikely that general manager Kevin Colbert is going to start anew with a rebuild. We’re also having a hard time believing that Pittsburgh honestly believes Mason Rudolph can be the quarterback of the future in the Steel City. Acquiring Garoppolo would enable the Steelers to compete in the short-term while adding a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft to take over long-term. It would be a win-win.