Huard: Should Seahawks go after 49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo?

A new candidate to be the next Seahawks quarterback has apparently entered the ring, and it’s hard to get a much more eye-opening potential fit than this.

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Jimmy Garoppolo of the rival San Francisco 49ers could become available, and ESPN analyst and former NFL safety Louis Riddick believes that “Jimmy G” could be the missing piece for a Seattle squad he thinks is on the rise.

“He can throw as pretty of a pass as anyone in the NFL,” Riddick said of Garoppolo on Friday’s edition of ESPN’s NFL Live, “and with some of the weapons that they have out there – when you think of (wide receivers) Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf, (tight end) Noah Fant, two good running backs, (they) just drafted two bookend offensive tackles, (they’re) building up the defense – Jimmy G is like the piece that they’re missing. Seattle’s setting the table for some quarterback in the next year or two. If it’s not Drew Luck or Geno Smith, which it ain’t gonna be… someone’s going to inherit a football team that has quietly set themselves up.”

On Seattle Sports’ Mike Salk Show on Monday morning, former NFL quarterback and current FOX Sports analyst Brock Huard weighed in on what Riddick had to say.

“There’s still a ways to go,” Huard said when Mike Salk asked him if he agreed with Riddick that the Seahawks have set themselves up to compete again soon. “I mean, there’s still some pieces to go.”

Why would Riddick feel that Garoppolo is a good fit for the Seahawks? Huard believes Seattle’s well-received 2022 NFL Draft class probably has a lot to do with it as Riddick, a former scout and director of player personnel for both Philadelphia and Washington, follows the draft closely as part of his ESPN duties.

“Louis works that draft and I think he really liked this Seahawk draft – as I did, as I think a lot of people did, kind of getting back to their roots and getting back to some difference makers,” Huard said. “So I think some of that is a reaction off of a draft that Louis covers. Some of it is a reaction to the pieces that are here – (pass rusher) Darrell Taylor and (safety) Quandre Diggs, some good players, obviously DK and Tyler on the other side. Louis knows his stuff. I don’t think they’re quietly set up for success this season, but in the years to come, yes. And that and that’s where Jimmy G comes into play.”

If that is the case, why would Garoppolo make sense for the Seahawks? First, it’s been speculated ever since San Francisco picked quarterback Trey Lance third overall in the 2021 draft that Garoppolo’s days are numbered with the 49ers, and rumors are starting to ramp up that he, like Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield, could be cut. Second, he has had success in the NFL whether it’s as San Francisco’s QB or Tom Brady’s backup in New England, and while injuries have been a big part of his career, he was healthy enough to start 15 games last year two seasons after he started all 16 games in 2019 for the 49ers.

Huard detailed what Garoppolo becoming a free agent would mean for Seattle, which currently has the aforementioned Lock and Smith competing to take over the starting QB job left vacant by Russell Wilson’s trade to Denver.

“OK, so (say) San Francisco cuts him – now what? Do you want to get into a bidding war for Jimmy G? I mean, do you want to pay him starting QB money? You freed up (salary) cap space, you have plenty of cap space to sign DK and Jimmy Garoppolo or bring in Baker Mayfield. You can move the cap numbers around so you have plenty of room to do that. But I think what then becomes the question is how much of a market (there will be) for Jimmy G, and you know, he’s gonna want starting money – $30 million a year? Are you willing to do that?”

Huard and Salk then both answered that question by saying they wouldn’t be willing to pay Garoppolo that much money, though Salk explained that he sees Riddick’s point.

“If they’re set up for success now, you owe it to yourself and the rest of the guys on that roster to bring in a quarterback who can win, right?” Salk said. “If you’re a quarterback away from having some success – 10, 11 wins – then you owe it to them to bring in Garoppolo or Baker, somebody who is a legitimate starting quarterback.”

Huard’s response was that it’s probably a bit too soon to say the Seahawks indeed are set up for that kind of success in 2022, especially with first-round pick Charles Cross and third-rounder Abraham Lucas both in the conversation to start at the two offensive tackle spots.

“I’ll answer it and point in this direction – step back and say: Are you are you ready to win right now with two rookie offensive tackles in the NFL, blocking who you have to block in this division alone?” Huard said. “Are you set up to block (Arizona’s) J.J. Watt? Are you set up to block the Rams’ (Leonard) Floyd and (Aaron) Donald? Are you set up to block (Joey) Bosa and the 49ers with the rookie tackle learning curve? … They could be really good players in the NFL, but there is no rookie tackle that’s ready to just step in and be a cornerstone guy, especially with an inexperienced QB.”

That being said, there’s a reason why Huard would be intrigued if Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll and general manager John Schneider did add Garoppolo.

“I’ll tell you, Jimmy’s fascinating because there’s maybe arguably no team that knows Jimmy Garoppolo better than the Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks,” he said. “I mean, they know him. Pete knows him. He’s gameplanned against him, he’s schemed against him, he’s hit him, he’s knocked him out of games. He knows what he is getting there, so if they were to make that decision, that is not one that they don’t have their homework done on and they know intimately. I just am not going to commit starting quarterback money to Jimmy Garoppolo.”

You can listen to the full conversation in the final segment of the podcast at this link or in the player below.

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