Jimmy Garoppolo does not fit into Saints future
By Kristen Wong
The New Orleans Saints need a quarterback in 2022. The San Francisco 49ers reportedly have one up for trade. Will we see Jimmy Garoppolo don the black and gold next season?
Even if both parties reached a mutual agreement, such a trade would signify a step backward for the Saints franchise. NOLA likely won’t take the rebuilding route in 2022 given the wealth of rostered talent (and Mickey Loomis’ uncanny ability to generate cap space), which means they want a quarterback who can take them all the way.
For more reasons than one, Jimmy G is not their man.
After losing the NFC Championship, San Francisco and Garoppolo appear to be parting ways. Garoppolo got emotional in what many believe to be his final 49ers press conference, and though he’s previously insisted that he isn’t ruling anything out, the proof is buried deep in the pudding: Garoppolo’s deficiencies got the better of him against the Rams, and San Francisco have been preparing for his departure since it drafted Trey Lance a year ago.
As Jimmy G scours the league for a “team that wants to win,” the Saints may land on his radar for two obvious reasons. One, the Saints have no starting quarterback, and two, NOLA is in the now Brady-less NFC South, where anything can happen next season (as opposed to, say, the Broncos in the AFC West, where Garoppolo would be thrown into the lions’ den with Mahomes and Herbert).
We previously wrote about how Garoppolo could be considered an option for New Orleans, but not necessarily a realistic one. The Saints can manage their cap space by restructuring current players’ contracts, but taking on Garoppolo’s $25 million salary may be too tall an order.
New Orleans Saints have nothing to gain from Jimmy Garoppolo trade
Financials aside, how much better is Jimmy G compared to Jameis Winston, anyway?
Garoppolo has the edge in overall win records, but everyone knows those don’t accurately reflect quarterbacks’ performances. In actuality, both Garoppolo’s and Winston’s roles in their respective offenses in 2021 were eerily similar, and both won and lost in very predictable ways.
When kept clean and supported by a strong run game, Garoppolo led the Niners to wins — as did Winston with the Saints. When the pocket collapsed and the run game sputtered, Garoppolo faced more unsurmountable challenges. Same as Winston.
Both quarterbacks have long been critiqued for their turnover-prone play, and this past season may have served as a do-or-die exhibition for each to prove he can play a cleaner game. In 2021, Winston had three picks in seven games for an interception rate of 1.9 percent; Garoppolo had 12 picks in 15 games for an interception rate of 2.7 percent.
Whereas Winston has successfully limited his turnovers (albeit within a small sample size), Garoppolo continues to give away the ball in high-pressure situations.
In the NFC Championship, Jimmy G’s flailing attempt to toss the ball away in the fourth quarter led to the Rams’ game-ending pick. We’ve seen Winston perform his own desperation heaves in games, but at least it seems like he’s trainable and he can adapt accordingly in the Saints’ offensive scheme. Garoppolo, on the other hand, remains a risky unknown.
If the Saints want to spend money on a quarterback this free agency, Garoppolo’s resume and recent decline simply do not warrant a contract worth five times that of Winston’s.
Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson — those guys are worth the money.
The Saints already have an unreliable quarterback under center. They don’t need a more expensive one.