The Union Democrat
49ers’ Garoppolo, Raiders’ Carr could be NFL’S top QB trade options this off-season – who ya got?
Jimmy Garoppolo met the media as he does each Wednesday, putting the best possible spin on a 6-6 season for the 49ers.
Some 530 miles to the south, Derek Carr was performing the same function at a podium in Henderson, Nevada, for the Raiders, serving as the face of another franchise with a .500 record.
Both could be on the move this offseason. Garoppolo's fate was sealed the moment the 49ers drafted Trey Lance, who was drafted at No. 3 overall to replace him.
Carr's status is more of a “maybe,” but the likelihood of him getting a fresh start somewhere else has increased with the departure of Jon Gruden as head coach and the unknown of who will assume that role in 2022. Whoever it is will have his own ideas about the most important position in the NFL, and it may or may not include Carr.
Garoppolo and Carr are too busy attempting to elevate their teams from the playoff fringe to put any serious time into a potential landing spot. Rest assured their agents — Don Yee for Garoppolo, Tim Younger for Carr — have thought about it plenty and will maneuver to put their client in the best possible position for success.
The plum opportunities appear to be in New Orleans and Pittsburgh, teams with established, winning coaches in Sean Payton and Mike Tomlin. The Saints are struggling with Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian. With Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger likely following the Saints' Drew Brees into retirement, an established starter could enter a playoff-ready scenario at either destination.
Denver and Washington will also be on the hunt. Less attractive potential openings include Philadelphia, the New York Giants, Carolina and — heaven forbid — Houston.
And therein lies the intrigue for next season for two players with connections that go back to the 2014 draft and would likely have suitors via trade in a year that's considered a down one for drafteligible quarterbacks.
Jimmy G or Derek Carr? Unless there's some fire to go with the smoke around Seattle's Russell Wilson, or Houston's Deshaun Watson extricates himself from civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault, Garoppolo and Carr are 1-2,
depending on who is doing the evaluating.
Carr and Garoppolo were first linked as quarterbacks on the South team in the Senior Bowl under then-jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley. Their stats were eerily similar as seniors in 2013. At Fresno State, Carr completed 68.9 percent of his passes for 5,083 yards, 50 touchdowns and nine interceptions. At Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo completed 66 percent of his passes for 5,050 yards, 53 touchdowns and nine interceptions.
There was some firstround buzz for both, but they waited until Round 2. Carr went at No. 36 to Oakland and Garoppolo No. 62 to New England as the heir apparent to Tom Brady. As it turned out, both have had better careers than the three quarterbacks that went in Round 1 — Blake Bortles of Central Florida (No. 3 to Jacksonville), Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M (No. 22 to Cleveland) and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville (No. 32 to Minnesota).
While Carr beat out Matt Schaub and started right away, Garoppolo waited as Brady showed no signs of the natural aging process. Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were in their first year with they swung an in-season Halloween deal to acquire Garoppolo in exchange for a second-round draft pick.
Playing under revolving coaches and coordinators, Carr put up good numbers and led the Raiders to a 12-4 season in 2016, fracturing his fibula in Week 16. The Raiders rewarded Carr in December of 2017 with a five-year contract worth $125 million, making him the highestpaid player in the NFL. Two months later, that distinction would belong to Garoppolo, who got a five-year, $137.5 million contract after leading the previously 1-10 49ers to five straight wins to close out the season.
Their success has been mixed, as well as debated by the home fan base of each team.
Carr, 53-69 as a starter, doesn't win enough, although his supporters would contend he's seldom had an adequate supporting cast on offense, defense or both. Garoppolo, 30-13 as a starter, wins plenty. But he overthrew Emmanuel Sanders in a Super Bowl loss to Kansas City and commits too many turnovers. On a franchise that includes Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young, the bottom line means finishing at the top.
Since both are entering the final year of their contracts, their salaries are reasonable when compared with the likes of Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott and others, with Garoppolo due $24.2 million and Carr just under $19.8 million heading into a walk year pending an extension.
In terms of work ethic, respect within the locker room and dealing with the media, Garoppolo and Carr are about as good as it gets. They stay out of trouble, support their teammates and don't make waves.
In terms of skillset, Carr is the more gifted passer and has better mobility. Garoppolo can't make the same boundary throws Carr does, but is extremely accurate in the middle of the field on throws anywhere from 10 to 30 yards and has better success on third down and in the red zone.
Frankly, both players need fresh starts. Carr said he wants to retire a Raider but that was before Gruden resigned. Despite the yearly offseason chatter about Gruden having a wandering eye for a new quarterback, he was Carr's biggest supporter in the building and now he's gone. Garoppolo would probably have to win a Super Bowl to stick around another year, which isn't likely.
So a number of teams will be doing the same thing they did in the days leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.
Garoppolo or Carr?