The Patriots might have to cross another quarterback off their list of targets.
The 49ers still like Jimmy Garoppolo and barring a significant upgrade, he’s expected to be their starting quarterback next season, according to ESPN NFL insider Jeremy Fowler.
“They believe they can win with [Garoppolo], but it would take a big swing, like a Deshaun Watson effect here, to make that change,” Fowler said on “SportsCenter” on Sunday. “And I’m told that the 49ers are one of the teams that Watson’s at least intrigued by. A source said, ‘Which quarterback wouldn’t want to be in that offense on that team with all those weapons and Kyle Shanahan?’ So always a possibility, but the Texans have made clear they’re not willing to deal Watson right now. Garoppolo’s still a viable option for San Fran.”
If the Texans don’t plan on moving Watson as they’ve said, there likely isn’t an opportunity for the 49ers to improve from Garoppolo. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson have each made comments in recent weeks that caused speculation on their futures, but there aren’t any reports of either potentially getting moved.
A Patriots reunion with Garoppolo has been speculated by many insiders in recent weeks. Garoppolo, who mostly backed up Tom Brady from 2014-17 with the Pats, has a 24-9 record as the 49ers’ starting quarterback in regular-season and playoff games since he’s arrived in the Bay Area.
Despite the 49ers’ success when he starts, Garoppolo’s been plagued by injuries over his four seasons there. In 2018, Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL in Week 3. Garoppolo played and started in all 19 of the 49ers’ regular-season and playoff games in 2019 before missing 10 games this past season due to an ankle injury.
In addition to his injury concerns, Garoppolo has two years and $53.4 million left on his contract. If San Francisco decided to move on from him, his dead cap would only be $4.2 million combined over the next two seasons, making it easy to move him from a financial standpoint.
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