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Jimmy Garoppolo Trade Rumors: Browns, Jets, Titans Linked to 49ers QB

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2022

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

NFL reporter Jordan Schultz appeared Monday on the Pat McAfee Show and said the Tennessee Titans, Cleveland Browns and New York Jets have been linked as potential suitors for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Schultz added that the Seattle Seahawks were the "ultimate wild card" on the quarterback trade market.

Even if Garoppolo is cut and available to sign in free agency—which seems like a growing possibility—a few of these teams don't make much sense as suitors.

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The Titans have veteran Ryan Tannehill locked into place and rookie Malik Willis as their long-term option. Garoppolo would at best be a lateral move for the Titans, if not a downgrade from Tannehill, unless the Titans were signing him to be Tannehill's backup and giving Willis a full season on the bench to learn the ropes.

But even then, would Jimmy G willingly sign with a team to be its backup option?

The Jets are an equally curious suitor, if they indeed have interest. While Zach Wilson is recovering from a bone bruise and torn meniscus in his right knee that required surgery, the expectation is that he'll be able to return sometime in September.

Joe Flacco will serve as the team's temporary starter. Garoppolo would be an upgrade over Flacco, but the expectation is that Wilson will be reinstalled as the starter once he returns.

In that case, Jimmy G would be signing on to be a backup—which is the reason he's leaving the 49ers in the first place.

In Cleveland, at least, he'd have a longer window to start, with Deshaun Watson suspended for 11 games. That would give him a bigger opportunity to showcase himself for teams that find themselves in the market for a starting quarterback next offseason.

The Seahawks make the most sense, as Jimmy G would be an obvious upgrade over both Geno Smith and Drew Lock. Smith has won that quarterback battle, but he also hasn't been a regular starter since the 2014 season with the New York Jets.

More than a few teams had the chance to sign Smith and give him a shot to win a starting gig. Instead, he was a regular backup, and if Garoppolo was acquired via a trade or signed, Smith would go back to that role.

Granted, a trade between divisional rivals like the Seahawks and 49ers seems unlikely at best and certainly complicated. Obviously, if the Niners eventually decide to just cut ties altogether and release Garoppolo—who hasn't been attending meetings and works out on his own, per Peter King of Pro Football Talk—he might make more sense as a Seattle acquisition.

But King also reported that he hasn't "heard the Seahawks are very interested anyway," which may mean they are more than happy rolling with Smith this season in what is now a rebuilding project in Seattle.

As the season grows closer, it's becoming harder and harder to find a natural landing spot for Jimmy G. Even if he's released, he may need to accept a backup role, at least for this upcoming season, or play the waiting game to see if a contending team suffers an injury at the position during the season and wants to get an upgrade.

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