Jimmy Garoppolo's exit from San Francisco seems inevitable ever since the Los Angeles Rams stormed for 13 unanswered points in the 4th quarter of the NFC Championship. 49er fans, NFL pundits including Mina Kimes, and anyone who witnessed it, all agreed that Garoppolo's leadership as a quarterback left something to be desired.
After the Carolina Panthers acquired Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns, Garoppolo's destiny seemed like the last domino to fall. The San Francisco 49ers have been likely to trade Garoppolo ever since last year when they traded up in the draft to select Trey Lance third overall. The good news for all parties is that unlike the ugly divorce in Cleveland with the Browns and Baker Mayfield, the 49ers and Garoppolo seem to agree with each other that the parting is mutual, and the two sides have been trying to work out an amicable trade. So the last question is: where is Jimmy G going to go?
The Seattle Seahawks
(Gasp!) Are the 49ers trading their quarterback to their biggest rival? It says a lot about what has changed in the NFL (and how the 49ers feel about Garoppolo's skills possibly) that this is even a possibility, but here we are. A lot of people thought Mayfield would wind up in Seattle, but now that's obviously not happening. Ever since Russell Wilson went to Denver, the Seahawks' QB choices went down to Drew Lock and Geno Smith. It is safe to say that Garoppolo is a step up from those two, by a considerable margin. Garoppolo's contract is structured so the 49ers would save $25 million against the cap this season whether he's traded or released, so we could see the 49ers just outright release him. Wild stuff.
The Seahawks have playmakers on their receiving corp with DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, so Garoppolo's short game could thrive there. Seattle would have to seriously up their offensive line, though, as Garoppolo is not a good scrambler. The Seahawk's offensive line is currently one of the worst rated in the NFL. With a few tweaks, this marriage could work.
The New Orleans Saints
Garoppolo and the twilight of Drew Brees' career have a lot in common. Brees lost his arm strength as he got older, and Garoppolo's never had much. What Garoppolo does have is great accuracy in short range. If Sean Payton had never stepped down following Brees' retirement, Garoppolo would have been a great fit. A trade to the Saints would be difficult, as the Saints only have about $10 million in cap space. If the 49ers outright release Garoppolo, then the Saints would have a better shot at picking him up. The big hinge here, though, is that the Saints have a serviceable starting quarterback in Jameis Winston. Frankly, they have a good backup quarterback (quiet, Bengals fans) in Andy Dalton. Winston is incredibly volatile, though, and if the Saints' confidence in him has weaned, it could happen.
A Backup Or Mentor Quarterback
Trey Lance is likely to get the most reps on this 49ers team. Garoppolo as a mentor to Lance seems to waste Garoppolo's prime, though. If the 49ers don't have a team to trade him to, this could be interesting, but hopefully not ugly.