If you thought last offseason offered up a big ol' game of musical chairs for NFL quarterbacks, just wait.
Last year saw Matthew Stafford and Jared Goff switch places. Drew Brees and Alex Smith retired; Ben Roethlisberger probably should have. Carson Wentz, Teddy Bridgewater, and Ryan Fitzpatrick got new gigs. Jimmy Garoppolo's team traded the Coit Tower to move up to draft his replacement but chose to keep him around. Mitch Trubisky settled into the backup life. Andy Dalton and Joe Flacco still exist and have actually seen the field. Sam Darnold and Cam Newton somehow became teammates, and both have been benched for P.J. Walker. You get the idea.
Finding a good quarterback is the most difficult transaction in sports. So when NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported Sunday morning that the San Francisco 49ers intend to trade Garoppolo after the season, it was a reminder that there again could be plenty of QB movement in 2022. Some of the prominent quarterbacks who could have gone elsewhere last year – Garoppolo, say – could be on the move this time. Maybe.
There are still six weeks remaining in the 2021 regular season, plus the playoffs, so a lot can still change. But fans love to think about next year – especially fans of teams that need to find a good quarterback. What the hell. Let's do it.
Rapoport's report on the Niners' intention to trade Garoppolo contained an important caveat:
Absent a Super Bowl run, which at this point is still theoretically possible, this is the 49ers' plan next season: start Trey Lance, trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Not a surprise there, they've been pretty up front about that. What Garoppolo is doing now is increasing the value of picks the 49ers get in a trade involving him, and they make it more likely that a place he wants to go would want to take him.
The knock on Garoppolo is that he's only capable of running an offense like Kyle Shanahan's, which is built to hide his inability to carry that offense. Well, that and his extensive injury history. Garoppolo has just one year left on a contract that calls for any potential trade partner to pay him $25.6 million in cash with an equal cap hit in 2022. Pricey, yes, but also well below the top of the veteran QB market.
As Rapoport indicated, Garoppolo's performance down the stretch will determine where he winds up.
Wilson made a stink last offseason about his circumstances in Seattle, and the Seahawks met him halfway. The team hired offensive coordinator Shane Waldron, traded for right guard Gabe Jackson, and drafted wideout D'Wayne Eskridge with their first pick. Things haven't worked out.
Seahawks GM John Schneider has some huge decisions to make this offseason. There are a bunch of roster holes to fill, and Seattle's potential top-five pick in the draft belongs to the New York Jets. A makeover is in order, and while it might seem easy to suggest trading Wilson and stacking some sweet draft capital, a move like that would also leave the Seahawks in a position to, you get it, find a good quarterback.