Jimmy Garoppolo’s trade options limited after moves

At the start of the offseason, it seemed the most likely quarterback to switch teams was Jimmy Garoppolo. It’s not like anyone made a secret of a looming trade as the San Francisco 49ers’ season ended.

Yet, Garoppolo is still with the 49ers and there’s no obvious potential landing spot.

Monday’s activity included Matt Ryan being traded to the Indianapolis Colts, Marcus Mariota replacing Ryan on the Atlanta Falcons, and Jameis Winston re-signing with the New Orleans Saints. It’s getting late in March and most teams have their quarterbacks.

Garoppolo still hasn’t been traded. It’s hard to figure out how the 49ers will offload him at this point.

Jimmy Garoppolo’s trade market

Every team that seemed like a possibility for a Garoppolo trade at some point this month has been scratched off the list.

The Denver Broncos landed Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers stayed with the Green Bay Packers, the Cleveland Browns got Deshaun Watson, the Pittsburgh Steelers settled on Mitchell Trubisky, and Kirk Cousins ​​signed an extension with the Minnesota Vikings. The Washington Commanders traded a lot for Carson Wentz. Tom Brady unretired to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Then the Colts, Falcons and Saints settled on QBs Monday. Most of the seats are taken.

The Seattle Seahawks need a quarterback and while trading within the division isn’t unprecedented, it’s rare. That match makes sense but it would require trading Garoppolo within the division, and also the Seahawks wanting Garoppolo.

The Carolina Panthers are looking for an upgrade, but would they be willing to trade draft assets to the 49ers right after doing the same a year ago for Sam Darnold? Perhaps, but that’s a lot of picks and money to put into quarterback without coming out of it with a top-end option.

The Houston Texans also need a quarterback, but adding Garoppolo doesn’t really make sense for a rebuilding team. Davis Mills, a rookie last season, showed promise. But, it’s the Texans and it’s not like their plan has made a lot of sense for the past few years. Anything is possible.

No other team is in clear need of a quarterback, though teams like the Detroit Lions or Falcons might decide their current starter is better as a backup and make a move. You might think Garoppolo is better than Trubisky or Winston or someone else, but those teams have made their decisions. If they wanted to move on Garoppolo, they would have done it.

Jimmy Garoppolo hasn't been traded by the 49ers yet.  (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t been traded by the 49ers yet. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Jimmy Garoppolo’s future with the 49ers

If Garoppolo is not traded, maybe he’d be back with the 49ers. That would be a bit odd.

While Garoppolo said no doors were closed during his season-ending news conference, he spoke of how he appreciated the relationships he made and seemed sad they were ending. He didn’t hide that a trade seemed (at the time anyway) like a lock.

“I was talking to John [Lynch, 49ers GM] yesterday about finding the right destination and whatever the future holds, just doing it the right way,” Garoppolo said in January. “I’ve got a long career ahead of me. So I’m excited about it. Excited about the opportunities to come. I just want to go to a place where they want to win.”

Maybe that place is San Francisco. Trey Lance was drafted third overall last season and it seems wild that he’d sit another year, especially given Garoppolo’s ups and downs, but the 49ers might not just cut Garoppolo. They’re fine in terms of the salary cap. While carrying Garoppolo at a cap hit of almost $27 million isn’t ideal, they kept Garoppolo last season despite drafting Lance when other teams might have moved on. At the very least, the 49ers might hang on and see if injuries open up a trade opportunity down the road.

Of all the potential scenarios that could have unfolded as the quarterback carousel spun, the 49ers being stuck with Garoppolo seemed like one of the most unlikely. Yet, that might be the only option.

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