For the second year in a row, things appear to be over between Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers.
And this time, for real.
After a stagnant trade market for Garoppolo essentially forced him back into San Francisco's hands last summer, the 31-year-old quarterback should have plenty of suitors when he hits free agency next week -- a list that reportedly could include the Las Vegas Raiders.
ESPN's Dan Graziano reported Sunday that the Raiders are all-in on the Aaron Rodgers sweepstakes, but they could make a run at Garoppolo if the Green Bay Packers' four-time NFL MVP is traded elsewhere.
"If they can't get [Rodgers], a lot of people in Indianapolis [at the NFL Scouting Combine] this week expect [Raiders coach Josh] McDaniels and GM Dave Ziegler to pursue free agent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, whom they know from his time in New England early in his career," Graziano wrote.
Garoppolo, McDaniels and Ziegler spent time together in New England when Garoppolo was on the Patriots from 2014 to 2017. As backup to Tom Brady, Garoppolo earned two Super Bowl rings with then-offensive coordinator McDaniels and Ziegler, who served as both assistant director of pro scouting and director of pro personnel during the quarterback's time there.
Before sustaining a season-ending broken foot in Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season, Garoppolo was playing some of the best football of his 49ers career. And based on McDaniels' comments when the Patriots traded Garoppolo to the 49ers midway through the 2017 season, the Raiders coach would love to have the veteran signal-caller in his offense.
"We understand the business side of it, but the human element is that you had a guy in your room that you really enjoyed being around, that you coached, that spent a lot of time learning and grasping what you were doing, and you saw him grow and get better and mature and improve through the course of time," McDaniels said back in 2017 (h/t NESN). "And now he’s not here. So I wish him nothing but the best.
"I really, really think a lot of this guy. He’s got a bright future. He’s a great person, and I hope he does well for himself.”
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While the Raiders' pursuit of Rodgers is understandable, maybe Garoppolo could be the guy they're looking for when it comes to replacing Derek Carr.