49ers’ Garoppolo and Raiders’ Carr in similar boats this NFL offseason

Jimmy Garoppolo met the media like he does every Wednesday, putting the best rotation possible on a 6-6 season for the 49ers.

Some 530 miles to the south, Derek Carr performed the same function on 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 when the 49ers drafted Trey Lance, who was drafted No. 3 overall to replace him.

Carr’s status is more of a ‘maybe’, but the likelihood of him making a fresh start elsewhere has increased with the departure of Jon Gruden as head coach and the unknown who will take on that role in 2022. His own ideas about the most important position in the NFL, and that may or may not include Carr.

Garoppolo and Carr are too busy trying to elevate their teams from the playoff fringe to put serious time into a potential landing spot. Rest assured that their agents – Don Yee for Garoppolo, Tim Younger for Carr – have put a lot of thought into this and will maneuver to put their client in the best possible position to succeed.

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 to follow 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 – God forbid – Houston.

And therein lies the intrigue for next season for two players with relationships that date back to the 2014 draft and would likely have suitors via trade in a year that’s considered a downturn for draft-eligible quarterbacks.

49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will likely be traded at the end of the 2021 season. Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

Jimmy G or Derek Carr? Unless there’s a fire to accompany the smoke around Seattle’s Russell Wilson, or Houston’s Deshaun Watson clears civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault, Garoppolo and Carr are 1-2, depending on who makes it. the evaluation.

Carr and Garoppolo were first linked as quarterbacks for Team South in the Senior Bowl under Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley. Their stats were eerily similar to seniors in 2013. At Fresno State, Carr completed 68.9% of his passes for 5,083 yards, 50 touchdowns and nine interceptions. At Eastern Illinois, Garoppolo completed 66% of his passes for 5,050 yards, 53 touchdowns and nine interceptions.

There was some first-round buzz for the two, but they waited out Round 2. Carr went to No. 36 at Oakland and Garoppolo No. 62 at New England as heir apparent to Tom Brady . In the end, both had better careers than the three quarterbacks who went to the first round – Central Florida’s Blake Bortles (#3 at Jacksonville), Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel (#22 at Cleveland) and Teddy Bridgewater of Louisville (No. 32 in Minnesota).

While Carr beat Matt Schaub and started right away, Garoppolo waited until Brady showed no signs of the natural aging process. Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were in their first year, and they struck a Halloween deal mid-season to acquire Garoppolo in exchange for a second-round pick.

Carr, playing under rotating coaches and coordinators, had strong numbers and led the Raiders to a 12-4 season in 2016, fracturing his fibula in Week 16. The Raiders rewarded Carr in December 2017 with a five-year contract worth $125 million. , making him the highest-paid player in the NFL. Two months later, that accolade would belong to Garoppolo, who earned a five-year, $137.5 million deal after leading the 1-10 49ers to five straight wins to close the season.

Former Raiders coach Jon Gruden was solidly in the corner for quarterback Derek Carr. Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group

Their success was mixed, as well as debated by each team’s local fans.

Carr, 53-69 as a starter, isn’t earning enough, though his supporters claim he’s rarely had an adequate supporting cast on offense, defense or both. Garoppolo, 30-13 as a starter, wins big. But he knocked down Emmanuel Sanders in a Super Bowl loss to Kansas City and is committing too many turnovers. On a franchise that includes Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young, the bottom line means finishing on top.

Considering both are entering the final year of their contracts, their salaries are reasonable compared to those of Patrick Mahomes, Dak Prescott and others. Garoppolo owes $24.2 million and Carr just under $19.8 million before a year of walking pending an extension.

In terms of work ethic, locker room respect and media relations, Garoppolo and Carr are about as good as they come. They stay out of trouble, support their teammates, and don’t make waves.

In terms of skill, Carr is the more gifted passer and has better mobility. Garoppolo can’t make the same limit throws as Carr, but he’s extremely accurate in midfield on throws 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 wanted to retire a Raider, but that was before Gruden quit. Despite the annual offseason chatter that Gruden had 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 stay another year, which is unlikely.

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?

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