NFL Rumors: Jimmy Garoppolo To Carolina Still A Possibility

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo during a post game interview
Wikimedia | Superbia23

Tristin McKinstry

The Carolina Panthers drafted Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft. This move came after talks of the team pushing to add Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield to their QB room. They were also linked to San Francisco 49ers signal caller Jimmy Garoppolo.

While the selection of Corral was thought to put an end to any other quarterback additions for the Panthers, this may not be the case. ESPN Insider Jeremy Fowler is reporting that the Panthers are still looking for a veteran quarterback, and the Garoppolo situation "might not be completely dead."

A Dreadful Season

New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold against the Washington Football Team
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The Panthers had hopes for a better season in 2021. They finished 5-11 in 2020 and clearly required a new man under center. They went out and acquired Sam Darnold from the New York Jets.

Things began fine. The team started 3-0 and seemed to be a force in the NFC South. However, they went on to lose four straight. Darnold went out with an injury but lost his job to a returning Cam Newton. When Newton struggled, Darnold returned but didn't perform much better. The Panthers finished 5-12, losing one more game due to the new 17th game of the season.

Making Way For The Future

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo against the Washington Football Team
Wikimedia | Superbia23

Garoppolo has been on the trade block for some time. The Niners made a deal with the Miami Dolphins before the 2021 NFL Draft to acquire the third overall pick. The team selected North Dakota signal caller Trey Lance, putting the writing on the wall for Garoppolo in San Francisco.

Garoppolo started 15 games for the Niners in 2021, throwing for 3810 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. He also started in three playoff games, as the Niners lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.

Holding Firm?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo before a game
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The Niners have held a high asking price for their 30-year-old quarterback. ESPN's Seth Wickersham reported last year that the New England Patriots, the team who drafted and traded Garoppolo, had inquired about his services. The Pats wanted him for a second-round pick, but the Niners wanted a first.

Garoppolo is a free agent after the 2022 season. The Niners, according to ESPN's Nick Wagoner, wanted a Day 2 draft pick. That would be a second or third-round pick. With the 2022 draft in the rearview mirror, the likelihood of the team receiving that much is low.

The Niners can hold firm on their asking price if they so choose. It remains to be seen if they will.

A Veteran Voice

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo against the Washington Football Team
Wikimedia | Superbia23

For the Panthers, they are realistic about their new quarterback prospect. "They know Matt Corral is a bit of a project, a little like Malik Willis, because of the offense he came from in Ole Miss," Fowler said. "He's going to need some time to learn the nuances of the NFL game, but they love the talent."

Garoppolo would be a worthwhile addition for Carolina. He can still play at a high level. He lead the Niners to the Super Bowl just a few years ago. He can be the guy who shows Corral the ropes before they hand the keys over to the 23-year-old Ole Miss product.