Former 49ers Quarterback Joins Rival

The San Francisco 49ers could see former quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo twice this year.

Los Angeles Rams to sign Jimmy Garoppolo | TSN

Garoppolo will sign with the Los Angeles Rams “per source” according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Friday. Once Super Bowl quarterback for the 49ers, Garoppolo got released by the Las Vegas Raiders this week because the “NFL suspended Garoppolo two games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy” last season, Schefter wrote.

A former second-round NFL Draft pick from Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo played for the New England Patriots from 2014 to 2017 behind Tom Brady. The Patriots traded him in 2017 to the 49ers, where he became the starter through the 2021 season.

Garoppolo helped the 2019 49ers team reach the Super Bowl before a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Despite Garoppolo’s winning amid an NFC West title and two NFC Championship Game appearances, the 49ers opted for quarterback Trey Lance with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

After Garoppolo held onto the starting job in 2021, he appeared headed for another destination in 2022, but the 49ers retained him instead. His opportunity came again after Lance’s ankle injury early in the season, but Garoppolo’s season ended abruptly with a foot injury in December 2022, which gave rise to quarterback Brock Purdy.

With Purdy established as the new starter, Garoppolo left in free agency for the Raiders, and the 49ers traded Lance to the Dallas Cowboys. Garoppolo inked a three-year, $72.75 million deal with the Raiders, but his benching and suspension ultimately led to his recent release.

He started six games for the Raiders last season and went 3-3 amid 1,205 yards passing for seven touchdowns and nine interceptions. Garoppolo showed a significant drop in completion percentage from 67% or higher the previous four years to 65.1% in 2023.

Injuries Plagued Jimmy Garoppolo After Patriots Trade

With the 49ers, Garoppolo completed 67.6% of his passes for 13,599 yards and 82 touchdowns versus 42 interceptions in six seasons. He went 38-17 in that span, but injuries limited him as he only played one full season with the 49ers and missed five or more games per year in four of his other seasons with the team.

Garoppolo played sparingly in New England behind Brady with just two starts and 17 game appearances overall. In 2016, Garoppolo went 2-0 with a 68.3% completion rate and 502 yards passing for four touchdowns in relief of Brady due to his suspension over the Deflategate scandal.

San Francisco caught eye of Garoppolo’s success and traded a second-round pick for him in the middle of the 2017 season. The 49ers previously had C.J. Beathard and Brian Hoyer guiding the offense.

Garoppolo’s play in his first year with the 49ers led to a five-year, $1378.5 million contract in 2018. The 49ers brought him back in 2022 on a one-year, $7 million deal.

Jimmy Garoppolo the Latest of Notable Rams Backup QBs

Los Angeles will give Garoppolo a one-year deal to back up quarterback Matthew Stafford. It marks a continual revolving door for the Rams at backup quarterback.

Notable backups in recent years include Baker Mayfield in 2022 and Carson Wentz in 2023. Mayfield went on to have a career turnaround with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Wentz remains a free agent after a late-season start with Rams.

San Francisco saw Wentz in that Week 17 game, which the 49ers lost as the team played second-string players. If Stafford stays healthy, the 49ers could still see Garoppolo in a similar setting if dynamics play out in the playoff chase for the two NFC West rivals and if the two play late enough in the season.

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