Jimmy Garoppolo, Zach Ertz's Best Landing Spots After 2021 NFL Draft Day 2

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIMay 1, 2021

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo drops back to pass during an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020 in Foxborough, Mass. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

The market for San Francisco 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo appears to be evaporating as Day 2 of the 2021 NFL draft saw three more QBs come off the board. 

Tight end Zach Ertz finds himself in a similar situation, with five players at his position selected through the first three rounds. 

That doesn't mean the two veterans are out of luck. Plenty of teams could still use front-end help, if not additional depth. Here's a look at the top landing spots for the Garoppolo and Ertz heading into the final day of the draft in Cleveland.


49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo

The list of teams in need of a bona fide starting quarterback dropped from nearly a third of the league to a handful at best in the last 48 hours. 

The Chicago Bears, New England Patriots, New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars each grabbed a QB within the first 15 picks of Round 1 on Thursday. That's not counting the Niners' selection of Trey Lance—Garoppolo's likely replacement—at No. 3 overall. 

After the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took Florida QB Kyle Trask No. 64 overall, the Minnesota Vikings grabbed Texas A&M's Kellen Mond at No. 66. The Houston Texans selected Stanford's Davis Mills at No. 67. 

Houston would've made for a potential Garoppolo suitor with Deshaun Watson's tenure likely over, according to NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah

The larger issue remains Garoppolo's contract. The 29-year-old carries a $26.4 million cap hit in 2021 and a $27 million cap hit in 2022.

One team that may be able to make his contract fit is the Denver Broncos. 

General manager George Paton told reporters last week he wanted to create a quarterback competition around Drew Lock. He seemingly accomplished that by adding Teddy Bridgewater, but Garoppolo has shown an ability to play at a level not seen from passers. Considering the Broncos still have $24.5 million in cap space, per Spotrac, there's a chance the finances could work if the desire is there. 

The Detroit Lions have $22.9 million in cap space, yet they already made one big quarterback move this offseason by sending Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams for Jared Goff. 

The Pittsburgh Steelers (salary constraints aside) and Indianapolis Colts make sense as landing spots. The Colts are preparing to enter the season with Carson Wentz as their starter, with head coach Frank Reich attempting to revive the career of the former Philadelphia Eagles signal-caller. Garoppolo provides a solid Plan B.

Similarly, the Steelers are staking their season on Ben Roethlisberger's health, which has been spotty in recent years. 

Otherwise the Illinois native's best opportunity may be sticking it out in the Bay Area and trying to prove that the Niners are still his team. 


Eagles TE Zach Ertz

It's a little bit easier to imagine Ertz playing elsewhere. 

The 30-year-old is set to account for $12.7 million against the cap in 2021 before reaching unrestricted free agency in 2022. 

Once again, it's the Colts that make the most sense here. 

If Reich is going to try to turn Wentz back into an elite passer, he could do a lot worse than adding the tight end who helped get him there in the first place. Reich, Wentz and Ertz were all together in Philadelphia when Reich served as offensive coordinator from 2016 to '17. 

The Jaguars also make sense for Ertz. 

Giving rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence an established tight end could help the Clemson product's development and add a bit of stability to a young huddle featuring enormous talents in wideouts DJ Chark Jr., Laviska Shenault Jr. and tailback James Robinson. 

Jacksonville's $39.3 million in cap space makes the Jags an intriguing trade partner for the Eagles as well. 

Ertz is just one year removed from three consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl and put up 335 yards on 36 catches despite playing just 11 games last year. The typically durable tight end hauled in an NFL single-season record at his position three years ago with 116 catches, and while he may not be at that elite level anymore, he still has enough to offer a rebuilding club. 

That should give head coach Urban Meyer and general manager Trent Baalke plenty to consider.


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