Potential Landing Spots, Trade Packages for Jimmy G After 49ers Trade Up – Bleacher Report
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Even after trading for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft, there’s a strong chance the San Francisco 49ers hold on to incumbent starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Not only is that what they’re saying, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, but doing so makes sense if the 49ers figure they’ll wind up with a quarterback who may benefit from time on the sideline, like North Dakota State’s Trey Lance.
Still, with a blue-chip rookie signal-caller almost certainly joining the fray in a month, and with Garoppolo’s contract practically void of guaranteed money, it’s hard to believe the 49ers wouldn’t change that tune in the event of a blockbuster trade offer.
With that in mind, let’s run down potential landing spots and packages for a Jimmy G exchange.
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This continues to be the “duh!” scenario.
According to a 2018 report from ESPN’sSeth Wickersham, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick was “furious and demoralized” when the front office told him to trade Garoppolo at the 2017 deadline. Less than four years later, Belichick is in need of a quarterback despite the presence of Cam Newton.
Since his MVP 2015 season with the Carolina Panthers, Newton has missed 18 games because of injury and has the league’s third-lowest qualifiedpasser rating. And while New England re-signed him earlier this month, his $5.4 million salary-cap hit for 2021 is lower than hits belonging to Ryan Fitzpatrick, Sam Darnold, Taysom Hill, Case Keenum and Nick Foles, all of whom might or definitely will serve as backups in the fall.
After splurging on expensive free agents Matt Judon, Hunter Henry, Jonnu Smith, Nelson Agholor, Davon Godchaux, Kyle Van Noy and Jalen Mills, the Pats are clearly all-in on the 2021 campaign. If they’re willing to uncharacteristically part with that much money, they might also be willing to give up a Day 2 draft pick for Garoppolo at a reasonable rate of $23.6 million.
Doing so would force them to do some work to create some cap space, but that’s proved to be a shockingly easy task for NFL teams this offseason, and the Pats have room to restructure deals belonging to veterans Trent Brown, Stephon Gilmore, Dont’a Hightower and Shaq Mason.
They could find ways to use both Garoppolo and Newton, and they’d suddenly have critical insurance considering that both have proved to be fragile in recent years. And if the Jimmy G experiment were to fail, they could move on in 2022 at practically no cost.
Potential trade: Patriots acquire Garoppolo in exchange for the No. 46 overall pick in the 2021 draft
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Drew Lock remains in the top spot on the Denver Broncos’ quarterback depth chart, but the 2019 second-round draft pick rankedlastamong qualified passers with a 57.3 completion percentage in 2020 and the Missouri product was the NFL’s lowest-rated passer ondeep attempts during that disappointing sophomore campaign.
Broncos president of football operations John Elway has attempted to find a franchise quarterback on multiple occasions since Peyton Manning retired following the 2015 season, and new general manager George Paton has made it clear that while they haven’t given up on Lock, they’re watching the quarterback market.
“We’ve evaluated all the quarterbacks,” Paton said earlier this month. “We like Drew Lock. We have a plan in place and there’s free agency, there’s the draft, there’s trades, there’s a lot of ways to acquire a quarterback. Fortunately, we have a quarterback here, and we have a nice quarterback room. We do want to bring in competition. We are not going to force it.”
Now that another domino has fallen with San Francisco making its move for a rookie signal-caller, the Broncos might see a natural opportunity to pursue Jimmy G for a potential one-year trial. They have more draft capital than New England and lead the league in salary-cap space, according to Spotrac, so they certainly have the ammunition to make it happen.
Potential trade: Broncos acquire Garoppolo in exchange for the No. 40 overall pick in the 2021 draft
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Carolina head coach Matt Rhule has not strongly endorsed 2020 starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, Schefter reported in February that the team tried to trade for Matthew Stafford before the Detroit Lions sent him to the Los Angeles Rams, and The Athletic’s Joseph Person reported earlier this month that the Panthers were “locked” on Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson may be off the trade market entirely as he faces 16 lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct, and now Garoppolo could shift into Carolina’s focus.
The question is whether the Panthers feel he’s worth chasing. He’s had a more successful career than Bridgewater on paper, but not by an overwhelming margin. And it’s important to keep in mind that the Panthers owe Bridgewater nearly $23 million in 2021 and that they’ll still be on the hook for $20 million in the event of his release ($15 million after June 1, according to Spotrac). They could save a lot more money by trading him, but it’s unlikely anyone would want to inherit that contract right now.
But only seven teams have more cap space than the Panthers, so it’s possible they’re willing to bite that bullet. And after winning just five games last season, they have a decent amount of draft capital.
I wouldn’t rule it out.
Potential trade: Panthers acquire Garoppolo in exchange for the No. 39 overall pick in the 2021 draft
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Considering that the Washington Football Team has already signed veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick to work with the intriguing Taylor Heinicke on a depth chart that also includes quarterbacks Kyle Allen and Steven Montez, it’s unlikely the WFT will chase down Garoppolo.
It also lacks draft capital compared to New England, Denver and Carolina, all of whom pick higher in Round 1 after missing the playoffs in 2020, and the Broncos and Panthers have more cap space than Washington.
But we still can’t rule it out in case those teams all decide they’re set with Newton, Lock and Bridgewater, respectively, and don’t want to pay up for Jimmy G. With more than $19 million in cap room, Washington can afford Garoppolo. And it’s not as though Fitzpatrick is a long-term solution. He is 38, has an 82.3 career passer rating and a 59-86-1 career record.
And while Heinicke caused some excitement with a surprisingly strong performance in a January playoff loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we’re talking about an undrafted 28-year-old with only one other career start under his belt.
There’d be nothing wrong with the WFT allocating about $35 million in cap space to Garoppolo, Fitzpatrick, Heinicke and Allen in 2021, especially since it has already completed the heart of free agency and it would owe those quarterbacks practically nothing in 2022 and beyond.
With the right quarterback, Washington has the talent to compete right now. It should consider increasing its odds of having the right quarterback, even if it costs the organization a second-round selection.
Potential trade: Washington acquires Garoppolo in exchange for the No. 51 overall pick in the 2021 draft
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This is even less likely because the Chicago Bears have even less money and draft capital than Washington, and they’ve publicly doubled down on veteran acquisition Andy Dalton. But the Bears have been whiffing on quarterbacks for pretty much the entire 21st century and you know what they say about desperate times.
An example of a desperate measure? A team parting with a Day 2 draft pick to spend $23.6 million on an inconsistent veteran with durability concerns, just weeks after it spent $10 million on another player at the same position, despite the fact it already has a veteran former Super Bowl MVP with an $8 million salary.
They’d owe more than $35 million to Garoppolo, Dalton and Nick Foles.
It’s possible that in this scenario, the Bears could flip Dalton or Foles to San Francisco. The 49ers would get their bridge quarterback at a much lower rate than Garoppolo is supposed to cost in 2021, and that could give the Bears more ammo to make up for a lack of draft capital compared to the competition.
Again, it’s far-fetched, but it’s not nonsensical if you believe that Jimmy G is an upgrade over Dalton/Foles (he is) and that the window to contend is closing (it absolutely is).
Potential trade: Bears acquire Garoppolo in exchange for Foles and the No. 52 overall pick in the 2021 draft