The San Francisco 49ers are committed to Jimmy Garoppolo, unless someone better comes along. Deshaun Watson? Trey Lance? There are some options, and trading with the New York Jets to get Sam Darnold is possible too.
The 49ers have very little cap consequences attached to cutting or trading Garoppolo. So that’s not an impediment to looking for someone else, even if it ends up being someone like Darnold as a better backup option with an eye on him starting in the future.
The New England Patriots are easily mentioned as a possible destination for Garoppolo, where he could reunite with Bill Belichick (who may not have wanted to trade him back in 2017). But could another AFC East make sense?
Football Outsiders, for ESPN +, put together a list of daring moves for all 32 NFL teams this offseason. For the Jets, trading for Garoppolo was the suggested bold move.
Should the Jets trade for Jimmy Garoppolo?
Any notable quarterback transaction the Jets make this offseason comes with the automatic residual of parting ways with Darnold. So leaving that as the assumption, would Garoppolo be a fit?
The Jets’ new head coach is Robert Saleh. He was the 49ers’ defensive coordinator for the last four seasons, overlapping almost perfectly with Garoppolo’s time there. New Jets’ offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur was also on the 49ers’ coaching staff the last four seasons, as the passing game coordinator. So even with all the games Garoppolo missed over two of the last three seasons, LaFleur surely knows him well. The ties to the new coaching staff in New York is the obvious root of any Garoppolo-to-the-Jets steam. The idea LaFleur will bring the core principles of the 49ers’ offense with him also makes Garoppolo a fit.
The Jets trading for Garoppolo would not be particularly daring, it’s just that the fit with Saleh and LaFleur was hiding in plain sight until now. If they did do it, drafting a quarterback is still in play for the Jets (at No. 2 overall or otherwise). So maybe that’s why they would do it, rather than make an all-in, mortgage the future deal for someone like Watson.