In the span of a few months, Jimmy Garoppolo has gone from playing in the NFC Championship to football limbo. He is still a member of the San Francisco 49ers, with one year and a potential $26.95 million left on his contract, but is not expected to be with the team this year.
General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan both expressed surprise and frustration at Garoppolo’s offseason shoulder surgery, especially the timing. Lynch said the 49ers were very close to trading Garoppolo before the surgery, and Shanahan has said that he still expects Garoppolo to be traded before the start of the season.
But the quarterback roulette wheel has stopped spinning for the most part, leaving Garoppolo’s most likely scenario a cut, which would open north of $20 million in cap space for the 49ers.
NBC Sports’ Matt Maiocco has a hard time imagining Garoppolo, who is still a few weeks away from throwing a football, starting for any team in Week 1 of the 2022 season.
“Of all the scenarios… I think that the least likely one in my mind would be to take on that $25 million, keep him on the team,” Maiocco said. “… When we talked to him, whatever it was, two days after the season, I mean, he said goodbye to everybody, and I think he kind of finished that call with, ‘Yeah, it’s been a great ride.’ So in his mind, he already had both feet out the door. So it’s just crazy to think that I just, I can’t see him right now being a starting quarterback for any team the first week of the season.”
Maiocco clarified that he believes Garoppolo is deserving of a job, but at this point in the offseason, there are limited, if any suitors.
“To me, he’s a starting NFL quarterback. I would say clearly he’s one of the top 25 quarterbacks in the league, if not just a little bit better than that,” Maiocco said. “So theoretically, he should be starting for a team but most of the teams [are settled].”
He pointed to the Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers and Cleveland Browns as the only three options, but isn’t exactly convinced any of those are hand-in-glove fits.
“If you’re Carolina, and if you’re Seattle, I can’t imagine that you’re thinking, ‘All we need is Jimmy Garoppolo and we can compete for a Super Bowl.’ I don’t think that that’s the case. So those are reasons why those teams might just take a full-on pass and go, ‘Hey we’ll address the quarterback situation next year.’ Kind of like the how the 49ers were back in 2017.”
Cleveland, Maiocco indicated, might make the most sense, at least in terms of being competitive, but has a lot to sort through with Deshaun Watson’s ugly legal situation and Baker Mayfield expressing mutual interest in being moved.
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