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49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo has ‘never been high’ on Panthers’ wish-list

Hopefully it’s a smokescreen. Otherwise the 49ers have even fewer potential landing spots for Jimmy G than we thought.

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

In the San Francisco 49ers' attempt to find a trade partner for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the Carolina Panthers have emerged as one of the top remaining fits. However, according to a report by ESPN staff writer David Newton, “Garoppolo never has been high on the team [Panthers] radar because he’s not considered much of an upgrade from [Sam] Darnold.”

While that would be bad news for the 49ers front office, other signs from Panthers general manager Scott Fitterer’s press conference on Monday could be positive for San Francisco. Most importantly, Fitterer revealed that he told incumbent starting quarterback Sam Darnold that “there’s a pretty good chance” the Panthers will acquire another quarterback during draft weekend.

Of course, the timing of Newton’s report comes at a convenient time for the Panthers. Carolina obviously benefits from convincing the 49ers they are prepared to go in a different direction. In fact, Fitterer made several comments suggesting he’s inclined to draft a quarterback, which could arguably raise suspicions that he’s putting up a smokescreen.

Fitterer acknowledged the Panthers had options outside of the draft to add a quarterback, but he reiterated multiple reasons why he prefers that to be a draft prospect. He also said the Panthers have refused to entertain trades that could cost them future second or third-round picks, which would likely be asked for by the 49ers in a Garoppolo trade.

The Panthers have the sixth overall pick, which could be a prime spot to land the signal-caller of their future. However, Carolina does not have another selection until late in the fourth round. They obviously need a quarterback but were 5-12 last year. With such limited draft capital, it seems like a significant risk to invest everything in one unproven quarterback.

So what do you make of this latest rumor? Do you think the Panthers genuinely have no interest in Jimmy G? Or do you think it’s a smokescreen to get the 49ers to lower their price?

Newton isn’t the only reporter saying this. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano said the 49ers have come to terms that they won’t be moving Garoppolo anytime soon:

I don’t get the sense that the Jimmy Garoppolo market is hot right now, and the 49ers have made their peace with the fact that teams won’t be willing to part with much in exchange for Garoppolo until after they’ve see him thrown in late June/early July coming off shoulder surgery.

The decision for Jimmy to wait until after the season to have surgery is affecting both sides.