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Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo's Best Landing Spots After 2021 NFL Draft

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIMay 1, 2021

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, left, greets Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers after an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
Tony Avelar/Associated Press

The NFL draft has come and gone, and 2021 rosters are beginning to take their final form.

A quarterback-heavy draft class saw eight quarterbacks selected in the first three rounds—the most in draft history, according to NFL Research. But there are still several teams that could use a boost under center, and luckily for them, two of the NFC's brightest stars at the position could be on the move.

Here's a look at some potential landing spots for both Aaron Rodgers and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Draft weekend was marred by rumors that Rodgers is ready to move on after 16 seasons in Green Bay. ESPN's Adam Schefter said Thursday that the reigning NFL MVP has told people he does not want to return to the franchise in 2021.

The team has reportedly offered to extend his contract, and general manager Brian Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur have met with the quarterback "at various points this offseason," Schefter reported. The team's brass is seemingly not budging on the quarterback, though Chris Mortensen of ESPN said the team is "now open to the reality" that he could be on the move.

The team didn't address the quarterback position in the draft, which they did in 2020 by drafting Jordan Love. There's no depth behind him, but he can easily slot into the starting job, which the team likely intends considering they selected him at No. 26 overall.

As for Garoppolo, the future has been in flux for the San Francisco 49ers quarterback since the team traded with the Miami Dolphins and moved up to select at No. 3. Things got even murkier Monday when head coach Kyle Shanahan wouldn't guarantee that Garoppolo would be on the roster after the weekend.

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The team took North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3, and Shanahan told ESPN that he envisions Lance will play in a backup role and the starting job belongs to Garoppolo (h/t Pro Football Talk's Michael David Smith).

Still, the 49ers gave up a hefty package of picks to move up and draft Lance, who is the future of a franchise that hasn't had stability at quarterback given Garoppolo's injury history. If the former New England Patriot is on the move, there are plenty of teams that could benefit:

Washington welcomed in veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw for 2,091 yards, 13 touchdowns and six picks for the Dolphins before giving way to rookie Tua Tagovailoa midway through the season. While the team invested in the 38-year-old, giving him a one-year deal worth up to $12 million, there's little assurance behind him if he should flame out again.

The team also has Taylor Heinicke, Kyle Allen and Steven Montez at quarterback.

With the unit as it stands, Washington will survive the season, but the team was ready to consider drafting a quarterback, according to ESPN's John Keim. It didn't do that, and now there's not exactly a championship quarterback room budding in Landover, Maryland. That could change if either Garoppolo or Rodgers came to town.

Where Washington at least has a semblance of a plan at quarterback, there's a lot of uncertainty in Houston, to say the least.

Deshaun Watson had spent the offseason expressing his frustration with the franchise, going so far as to tell head coach David Culley that he "has no intention of suiting up for the team again," according to ESPN's Dan Graziano in late February. His future has gotten even murkier since late March, as 22 women have filed lawsuits against him alleging sexual assault and misconduct.

Houston addressed the situation by first signing Tyrod Taylor and then drafting Stanford quarterback Davis Mills in the third round (No. 67 overall), though they acknowledged that the pick "doesn't impact anybody" on the roster.

Taylor is capable of taking over the offense if Watson is on the move, but he hasn't been used as a starter since 2017. Either Garoppolo or Rodgers would bring far more recent experience to a roster that would need it amid the absence of its leader.

The Denver Broncos have a full quarterback room since trading for Teddy Bridgewater from the Carolina Panthers on Wednesday. But amid rumors that the Broncos were interested in Rodgers, a deal for either quarterback would still make sense.

Bridgewater made 15 starts for the Panthers in 2020, throwing for 3,733 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, and as of now, he'll battle it out with Drew Lock (2,933 yards, 16 touchdowns, 15 interceptions in 2020) for the starting gig in the Mile High City.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that Denver was one of the preferred destinations for Rodgers, and based on the rumors, it seems like the Broncos still aren't satisfied with what's currently under center.

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