The Indianapolis Colts have to be one of the teams who could conceivably trade for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason.
No good NFL team has had more chaos at the quarterback position in recent years than the Indianapolis Colts, so it would not be shocking if they ended up trading for San Francisco 49ers starter Jimmy Garoppolo before the 2022 NFL Draft.
Garoppolo is in the final year of his contract with the 49ers. He will be 31 years old in 2022, slated to make $25.55 million for whatever team he plays for. With San Francisco potentially looking to start last year’s No. 3 overall pick in Trey Lance, that makes the former second-round pick out of Eastern Illinois expendable. The 49ers could trade him, but will Garoppolo being going to the Colts?
Here are the pros and cons of the Colts orchestrating a trade for Garoppolo this offseason.
Indianapolis Colts: Pros of trading for Jimmy Garoppolo
The biggest thing Garoppolo can provide the Colts is stability. He knows what he is and he can thrive playing in Frank Reich’s offense. Garoppolo would be playing behind an elite offensive line in Indianapolis and would be handing the ball off to a top-three running back in the league in Jonathan Taylor. Upon arrival, the Colts could be good enough to win the AFC South next season.
One could argue he would be the best quarterback in the division. Trevor Lawrence has the highest ceiling. Even if Deshaun Watson somehow returns, the Houston Texans are a mess. While the Tennessee Titans have a good quarterback in Ryan Tannehill, Garoppolo is at least in the discussion for being as good as him. Garoppolo would also be a big upgrade over Carson Wentz.
Though he too will make mistakes, Garoppolo is not inherently reckless by nature like Wentz is. Again, his likability will do wonders in Indianapolis, as they chase for their first division crown since Andrew Luck played in 2014. With Garoppolo, the Colts could have what it takes to not only make the playoffs by winning the AFC South, but they have an outside shot of reaching the Super Bowl.
Indianapolis Colts: Cons of trading for Jimmy Garoppolo
The downsides are the Colts are saddled with the rusted boat anchor known as Wentz’s contract. He is under contract for the next three seasons and would be a $15 million dead cap hit in 2022. Perhaps he could go to the 49ers and back up a fellow North Dakota State Bison in Lance? The good news is the 49ers have their next starting quarterback still on his rookie contract in 2022.
As for Garoppolo, he is playing on an expiring contract, meaning he could leave Indianapolis in 2023 NFL free agency. That would mean yet another year where the Colts are starting someone new at quarterback. Plus, if they do trade for him, where does Garoppolo rank among the best quarterbacks in the AFC? Probably in that top-six to top-eight range with the likes of Tannehill.
While the Colts are not in position to draft a franchise quarterback this year thanks to the Wentz debacle of a trade, they could get essentially a cheaper and slightly younger version of Garoppolo in Marcus Mariota in his free agency. Though his NFL career has not been as good, Mariota was a former No. 2 overall pick out of Oregon for a reason. He was an otherworldly college player before.
Indianapolis Colts: Should they trade for Jimmy Garoppolo?
If the 49ers are willing to take on Wentz’s contract, then absolutely! Garoppolo has at least five more years left of high-quality ball in the tank. He has played in plenty of big games for winning organizations for the better part of a decade. Trading for him will not be flashy, but it could be exactly what the Colts need to have the necessary stability they have been missing at quarterback.
Because the Colts’ roster is too talented to bottom out this year, as well as Reich and to some degree Chris Ballard being on the hot seat, this team is not going to actively try to lose games to draft a Bryce Young in 2023. As long as they have a plan to kick Wentz to the curb without it being too punitive financially, it would totally serve the Colts to call up John Lynch and try to make a deal.
The only reason not to trade for Garoppolo is if the Wentz contact is simply unmovable this spring.