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Jimmy Garoppolo’s 3 Best Free-Agent Fits For 2023

  • Justin Melo
  • February 2, 2023
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The San Francisco 49ers confirmed that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will not return to the team next season. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch confirmed the news via their end-of-season press conference following their NFC Championship Game defeat to the Philadelphia Eagles. Garoppolo is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

The 49ers will likely hold an open competition at quarterback between Brock Purdy and Trey Lance. Tom Brady, who was rumored to be a potential offseason target of the 49ers, announced his retirement earlier this week. Brady’s retirement enhances Garoppolo’s market. 

Jimmy Garoppolo will have no shortage of suitors. He’s arguably the best veteran quarterback available via free agency. We’ve swiftly identified three potential landing spots for Jimmy Garoppolo.


The Jets will have a new starting quarterback in 2023. Zach Wilson played poorly as he continued to struggle with general decision-making both on and off the field. Wilson showcased maturity issues that disappointed the franchise. The Jets are expected to look elsewhere as a result.

Jets head coach Robert Saleh spent four seasons (2017-20) alongside Garoppolo in San Francisco. Saleh and Garoppolo qualified for a Super Bowl together. Saleh just hired Nathaniel Hackett as his new offensive coordinator. Hackett runs a zone-based offense, which is a variation of the Shanahan offense that Garoppolo has been operating for several years.

Hackett’s hiring also means that Aaron Rodgers could be a target for the Jets. Jets general manager Joe Douglas would have to part with several first-round draft selections in order to acquire Rodgers. Garoppolo is a good fit for the Jets, and he’d come at a significantly lower cost than Rodgers would.


The Raiders are expected to move on from starting quarterback Derek Carr this offseason. Carr failed to showcase chemistry with first-year head coach Josh McDaniels. Raiders general manager Dave Ziegler is simply waiting for the opportune moment to trade or release Carr.

McDaniels oversees a complicated offense that most quarterbacks struggle to quickly acclimate with. That’s why the Raiders are expected to pursue a quarterback that’s played under McDaniels’ tutelage in the past. Garoppolo spent four seasons as the New England Patriots’ backup quarterback (2014-17) when McDaniels was their offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. Few coaches know Garoppolo better than McDaniels does.

McDaniels and the Patriots always held a high opinion of Garoppolo’s abilities. The franchise didn’t necessarily want to trade Garoppolo to the 49ers in 2017. Furthermore, McDaniels employs several ex-Patriots coaches that know Garoppolo well. With Brady no longer an option, Garoppolo may become Vegas’ No. 1 target.


Former 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was introduced as the Houston Texans’ new head coach earlier this week. Ryans previously played for the Texans and is a popular hire for the franchise after a couple of missteps. Ryans received a six-year contract from Houston, which insinuates he’ll receive a much longer leash than David Culley and Lovie Smith did.

The Texans own the No. 2 overall selection in the 2023 NFL Draft. General manager Nick Caserio is expected to draft a quarterback. The list of potential options includes C.J. Stroud, Will Levis, and Bryce Young. In-house scout Joe Marino has the Texans drafting Young in his latest NFL mock draft.

Ryans and the Texans could choose to pair their rookie signal-caller with a veteran bridge-type quarterback. Ryans spent all of Garoppolo’s six seasons (2017-22) in San Francisco via various defensive coaching roles. Ryans was with Garoppolo from beginning to end in the Bay Area. Caserio was New England’s director of player personnel when the Patriots drafted Garoppolo. Garoppolo now has a ton of professional and personal ties to the Texans franchise.

Written By

Justin Melo