After the San Francisco 49ers traded up to the third overall pick, starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo‘s job is in doubt. The 49ers would have no reason to trade the No. 12 pick, first rounders in 2022 and 2023 and a third rounder in 2020 to draft anyone other than a top quarterback. Such a sacrifice would be unwise unless planning to select a future franchise quarterback.
49ers general manager John Lynch reportedly called Garoppolo after the blockbuster trade, emphasizing that “he is still in our plans.” However, Lynch also told the media that he would entertain trade proposals for Garoppolo.
General manager Ryan Pace might consider making a move for the 29 year old quarterback. Chicago’s historic struggles at the quarterback position need to be remedied. Could Garoppolo be the guy to do it?
Garoppolo’s Abilities and Fit
Jimmy Garoppolo is certainly not a top-ten quarterback in the league. In fact, he is fairly middle of the pack. In 6 starts during an injury-shortened 2020 season he threw just 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions with a 92.4 quarterback rating. Mitch Trubisky’s quarterback rating was higher.
However, Garoppolo showed in 2019 that he is a legitimate starting NFL quarterback. He led the 49ers to a 13-3 season and a Super Bowl berth. He threw for 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and had 4 fourth quarter comebacks throughout the season.
Granted, San Francisco’s success in 2019 was largely due to their stellar defense. Nevertheless, Garoppolo played well enough to complement the 49ers defense and win games. That is what would be required of him in Chicago.
Another benefit with Jimmy Garoppolo is his fit in Chicago. For one, he is quite familiar with the area and atmosphere of Bears football, as he grew up about 45 minutes from Soldier Field. He attended Eastern Illinois University, less than 3 hours south of Chicago.
Garoppolo would also fit well in the Bears system. In 2020, the Bears relied heavily on play action and running the ball. This is similar to what 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan employed in San Francisco. Therefore, Garoppolo is well adjusted to what the Bears ran last season.
Garoppolo fits well in Chicago, and in 2019 he showed he can be a solid quarterback for a winning football team. Meanwhile, his injury-riddled 2020 season was very dissapointing, as he went just 3-3 in his 6 starts. There is a risk in trading for Garoppolo as no one knows which version he will be. However, if he lives up to his full capability, he will be the Bears ideal starting quarterback.
The Logistics of a Trade for Garoppolo
Despite Garoppolo’s large contract of over $50 million in the next two years, it would be less difficult to the Bears handle than expected. They are crunched for cash, but his expensive contract is fairly easy to manuever. His $26.4 million cap figure for the 2021 season includes $24.1 million of unguaranteed salary. Therefore, by restructuring an extension, the Bears could afford Garoppolo.
The biggest issue in trading for Garoppolo is compensation. Chicago does not have a large amount of picks by any means, and for an aging team, they would like to hold onto their draft picks unless trading for someone really special. Garoppolo is solid, but he is not really special. The Bears also don’t have much depth on their roster, so choosing the right assets to trade would be difficult.
The Bears also have locked themselves in at the quarterback position. In a Twitter post on Wednesday, the Bears basically proclaimed recent free agent signee Andy Dalton their new starter.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) March 25, 2021
There is not much coming back from this post. It was a bad look in the first place, but if the Bears were to go back on this and trade for Jimmy Garoppolo, they would look even worse. Also, if the Tweet is any indication, Chicago plans on starting Andy Dalton in 2021.
Jimmy Garoppolo would fit well with the Bears. He is a solid quarterback, has familiarity with Chicago, knows Matt Nagy’s system and has a contract the Bears could work with.
However, a trade for Garoppolo would not really make sense. The Bears do not have many assets and should not want to trade any draft capital. Garoppolo is a bit of a risk too, as his last season was disappointing and has a history of injuries. Lastly, Chicago’s front office seems fairly locked in with Andy Dalton and should not go back on its word.
If Jimmy Garoppolo is truly on the trading block, the Bears should not be one of the teams pursuing him.
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