All signs still point to the 49ers aiming to facilitate a trade to move quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. But the real mystery lies in which team would be willing to make a move for the veteran signal-caller this late in the offseason, given how many teams already filled their need at the position.
One team that has regularly been rumored to be interested in Garoppolo is the Carolina Panthers, who right now have a quarterback depth chart headlined by Sam Darnold and rookie third-round pick Matt Corral.
Garoppolo’s skill set and body of work present a clear upgrade over either option, but would Carolina be willing to part with additional draft capital after investing a handful of picks into the position over the last couple of seasons?
To better gauge the situation, I spoke with Billy Marshall, who covers the Panthers for BlueWire on the ‘Roar’ Podcast. I asked Marshall a few questions about the situation and where he stands on a potential deal that would send Garoppolo to Carolina.
1. Do you think Garoppolo is enough of an upgrade to justify the Panthers parting with any amount of draft capital?
Garoppolo is a clear upgrade, but the Panthers aren’t able to part with significant draft capital (Day 1 or Day 2 picks). They traded a 2023 3rd for Matt Corral and a 2023 6th for Stephon Gilmore. They have to be prudent with their draft assets moving forward.
2. What is one area of concern you would have if Carolina were to trade for Garoppolo?
Health. Jimmy’s durability has been a source of concern for the last few years. The recent surgery complicates matters even more. Carolina needs a guy who can step into their locker room on Day 1 to establish a rapport with their pass catchers, so if he’s still rehabbing, which could cause issues.
3. What is a specific area where you think Garoppolo provides an immediate upgrade over Darnold and Corral
Jimmy is an upgrade in a few areas over the current crop of QBs. He has a quick release, delivers an accurate ball in the short/intermediate part of the field, and his toughness is never in question.
4. If you were the general manager, is trading for Garoppolo a move you would make?
I would part with a mid-late day three pick for Jimmy. His skill set meshes well within a Ben McAdoo offense.
At this point, a Day 3 pick for Garoppolo is a win considering the alternative of releasing him and getting nothing in return. Carolina can’t part with significant capital, and the 49ers shouldn’t turn away an opportunity to get something for a player they likely will release if no trade materializes.
Carolina provides Garoppolo a very underrated group of skill position players to work with and an offensive scheme that would cater to his strengths. Garoppolo has proven time and time again that he can get the ball to playmakers in space. And while DJ Moore is no Deebo Samuel, he is still an exceptionally talented wide receiver who is fantastic with the ball in his hands after the catch.
This is a move that makes sense for both sides, but for now, we wait and see if anything comes together as that shoulder inches closer to being healthy, and Garoppolo can start throwing again.