The New Orleans Saints trading for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in 2022 will depend on two factors: one, how likely Garoppolo will be traded this offseason, and two, whether the Saints can afford him.
Rumors are just rumors. There’s been talk of Russell Wilson leaving the Seattle Seahawks for years now, but Wilson’s allegiance to Seattle continues to see-saw with no end in sight.
Jimmy G’s situation in San Francisco seems a little different, though.
Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports listed three main reasons why the 49ers may not hold onto Garoppolo past the 2021 season:
"1. After the 2022 season, they would not be able to trade him because his contract would be expiring.2. The 49ers can invest the money saved on his $25 million salary for 2022 on players they want to retain as part of the team’s long-term strategy.3. Based on how Trey Lance developed during the season, he should be ready to take over in 2022, just as Mahomes did for Kansas City in 2018."
Other NFL outlets have also expressed a high degree of certainty that Garoppolo won’t be in SF iin 2022.
NFL’s Ian Rapoport reported in November that the 49ers, barring a Super Bowl run, will seek to trade Garoppolo this offseason.
Matt Barrows of The Athletic also believes the 49ers’ preferred course of action for next season is to trade Garoppolo, which could include some sort of extension or reworked contract.
Garoppolo may be on his way out — but what makes the New Orleans Saints a prime destination for him?
New Orleans Saints would need a cap space miracle to afford Jimmy Garoppolo
Short answer: They aren’t.
Out of all the quarterback-needy teams in the league, the Saints enter 2022 as the poorest in terms of available cap space.
The salary cap is expected to grow in 2022 to $208.2 million, a 14 percent increase from this year’s cap, but the Saints are still currently an estimated $61 million over the cap, per OverTheCap.com.
NOLA will barely be able to retain its own rostered players, so signing an expensive and highly-desired quarterback like Garoppolo will be improbable, to say the least.
Denver or Miami could much more easily absorb Garoppolo’s $25 million salary, as each of those teams have $40 million or more in available cap space.
And for the final kicker: even if the Saints could create enough room to afford Garoppolo, why would they spend it on him?
Jimmy G is coming off a productive, playoff-contending 2021 season that nonetheless saw him miss time due to injury. Nearly over the hill, Garoppolo has only played 15 games or more in two seasons in his eight-year career, and his troubling injury history doesn’t bode well for New Orleans’ hopes for stability in 2022. (No more four quarterback rotations, please.)
Instead, the Saints can just re-sign Jameis Winston for $1 million, which may then allow them to hold onto Marcus Williams and a few other key roster members.
The singular reason that Jimmy G may be interested in the Saints, as opposed to any other team, is his connection to Sean Payton. Both attended the same school, Eastern Illinois University, and in truth there are probably several things Payton likes about Garoppolo’s quick-release playing style.
At that high price point, though, Payton would probably look elsewhere for the Saints’ quarterback of 2022.