As the football-following world tries to figure out where 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will land, a bizarre theory has emerged in recent days.
Garoppolo to Tampa, as the heir apparent to Tom Brady. Basically, New England 2014-17 all over again.
Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times, who know the Bucs as well as anyone, reacted to this slow-time chatter by saying, “Not a chance.” Stroud quoted an unnamed Buccaneers coach this this observation: “If [Garoppolo] could throw a deep ball, he would’ve won two Super Bowls already.”
Garoppolo definitely would have won one. He had receiver Emmanuel Sanders wide open for the win in Super Bowl LIV against the Chiefs. (Assuming Patrick Mahomes wouldn’t have answered with a touchdown of his own.) Before it even got to that point, Garoppolo’s failure to properly run the short passing game kept the team from keeping possession and slamming the door on the Chiefs’ comeback from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
Beyond that, it makes no sense for the Bucs to get Garoppolo now -- unless he’d arrive with a long-term contract that specifically makes him the heir to Tom Brady as of 2023. Why would Garoppolo surrender the chance to start elsewhere this year, and then to become a free agent in March? He’d definitely get more money that way.
To make it happen, he needs to go to a team that will put him on the field in 2022. We’ve listed the full universe of possibilities. The Buccaneers were not one of them. It would be a fallback position at best for Garoppolo, a concession that he’s got no real opportunity to start elsewhere in 2022. It would make more sense to wait for 2023, if he’s going to land in Tampa.
Also, the coaching staff would have to decide that it has no qualms about adding a quarterback who lacks deep-ball accuracy.