NFL Rumors: Rams Wanted Jimmy Garoppolo to Back Up Stafford If 49ers Released QB

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 11, 2022

Football: NFC Championship: San Francisco 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo (10) in action, passing vs Los Angeles Rams at SoFi Stadium. Inglewood, CA 1/30/2022 CREDIT: John W. McDonough (Photo by John W. McDonough/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images) (Set Number: X163918 TK1)
Set Number: X163918 TK1

The Los Angeles Rams were reportedly prepared to sign Jimmy Garoppolo if the division-rival 49ers released him.

ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the Rams planned to target Garoppolo as a backup to Matthew Stafford, who dealt with a lingering elbow issue throughout the offseason and looked rusty in Thursday's loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The 49ers were reportedly unaware that the Rams were waiting in the wings ready to pounce.

"It was going to be such a Rams move to make," a member of the 49ers organization told Schefter. "Sean McVay and Kevin Demoff would have been basking in it."

After failing to find a trade partner, the 49ers and Garoppolo agreed to a restructured contract that could pay the quarterback up to $16 million with incentives. He will open the 2022 season as the backup to Trey Lance, the 2021 first-round pick whom the 49ers traded three first-round picks to acquire.

"Seeing the other opportunities that were out there and you weigh in the pros and cons of everything," Garoppolo said after agreeing to the restructured deal. "Trust me, there was a lot of back and forth going on just with other teams and what I wanted my future to look like. And so, this is what I wanted."

The 49ers failed to trade Garoppolo in large part because he spent the offseason rehabbing from shoulder surgery. The NFL's game of quarterback musical chairs played out almost entirely while Garoppolo was unable to throw for interested teams.

While the pairing didn't happen, the Rams' interest in Garoppolo is interesting from a theoretical standpoint. It may mean the coaching staff is a little more concerned about Stafford's elbow than they've let on this offseason. Stafford looked nothing like the MVP candidate he was a year ago Thursday night, throwing three interceptions and several other wildly inaccurate passes.

Garoppolo would have been an elite backup option in case of a Stafford injury, capable of at least keeping the Rams in the playoff picture. Instead, John Wolford opened the season as the backup to Stafford.