Jimmy Garoppolo NFL free agency: Five potential landing spots

Jimmy Garoppolo NFL free agency: Five potential landing spots

Jimmy Garoppolo’s 49ers tenure appears to be over — this time, for good.

This isn’t just a reference to Tom Brady’s latest retirement announcement. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said bluntly Wednesday that he doesn’t see a scenario in which Garoppolo returns to the Bay Area in 2023.

That could also have been the case last offseason when the 49ers sought a trade, but Garoppolo ended up staying put and replacing the injured Trey Lance before suffering his own season-ending injury.

But a return to the Bay is now less likely than before as Jimmy G heads to unrestricted free agency, so the 49ers have less reason to retain him.

Let’s look at five teams who could go after Garoppolo in open free agency:

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This one seems pretty obvious. Garoppolo was supposed to be Brady’s heir in New England before eventually being sent to San Francisco, but with the 45-year-old seemingly made in Tampa Bay, the door is wide open.

And with Blaine Gabbert, 33, also an unrestricted free agent, Kyle Trask, 24, is the only QB under contract in Tampa. He only played one game after being drafted in 2021 and it wasn’t as a starter.

The Buccaneers still have the pieces to make another playoff push, especially on offense with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Garoppolo may not be Brady, but he’s helping the Bucs dominate an open NFC South and shouldn’t stab the team’s financial books long-term.

Las Vegas Raiders

Derek Carr’s time with the Raiders also appears to be over. There’s the hypothetical scenario where he stays as Garoppolo because he has a contract that’s not really easy to negotiate, but if he leaves Sin City, Garoppolo might step in.

The Raiders must also be disappointed by the Brady news given that a potential marriage seemed like fate, but Garoppolo is still an upgrade over Carr – not significant, of course, but still an upgrade, this which is hard to find in the NFL.

Garoppolo, at a minimum, could help Las Vegas reach second place in the AFC West if it’s unpredictable for a second consecutive season.

New York Jets

Garoppolo’s best runs with the 49ers came when the team fielded a generally healthy and vigorous defense that ranked at or near the top of the NFL. That could also be the case if he joins the Jets, with Zach Wilson’s time with the franchise also seemingly ending quite abruptly.

It helps that New York is coached by Robert Saleh, a familiar face during the 2019 Super Bowl run in San Francisco. The Jets’ defense is already strong and can improve next season, while the offense will be anchored by new coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, who only had a one-year stint as head coach. of Denver in 2022.

Is this the desired name Garoppolo would want to work with after the Broncos’ abysmal season? Do the Jets have a potential trade they would prefer instead? Could Saleh be the key to closing a deal? Gang Green could become Gang Garoppolo in 2023.

Houston Texans

DeMeco Ryans is now H-Town’s main man. He’s another familiar face to Garoppolo after serving as Saleh’s backup as defensive coordinator in San Francisco.

Davis Mills, the starter for the past two seasons, hasn’t shown any positive signs of being the long-term answer.

Neither is Garoppolo, 31, to be honest, but he is clearly an improvement over Mills. The Texans have the No. 2 overall pick in 2023 and should use it on a young quarterback — like a Bryce Young, CJ Stroud or Will Levis — but Garoppolo’s signing to serve as a bridge to anyone in drafts from Houston could be a potential avenue the team is driving through.


These three teams are grouped together because they’re all in a similar boat: none have legitimate ties to Garoppolo or have a young quarterback brewing behind the scenes and all have first-round picks that could be out of reach for a potentially elite QB in the draft.

One of those teams, however, could hit a young QB like Anthony Richardson or Hendon Hooker and use Garoppolo as a bridge to develop them.

Additionally, Washington is in a similar boat to the Jets where it has playoff-caliber defense, a few solid players but no legit QB. Garoppolo could be a short-term fix after the Commanders nearly missed the playoffs in 2022.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *