While it’s highly likely that Kyler Murray remains with the Arizona Cardinals, he needs someone to push him in 2023. Someone like Jimmy Garoppolo.
At this point, Jimmy Garoppolo could re-sign the San Francisco 49ers and the franchise could end up moving former third overall pick Trey Lance elsewhere. Or, the Niners may look to try and get the most out of the quarterback they drafted and let Garoppolo test the free agent market, especially following the quarterback’s latest injury.
If the latter is the case, the Arizona Cardinals, regardless of who is sitting in Steve Keim’s seat, even Keim himself, must seriously consider bringing Garoppolo in and to give him an equal chance to start at quarterback. Even with Kyler Murray in town.
And while the likeliest scenario is that Garoppolo will sign somewhere where he can start immediately, his services are still worth exploring.
One reason is simple: Bringing in a starting-caliber quarterback will, at the very least, relay to Kyler Murray that his seat is getting hotter. And given Murray’s regression, he needs someone like Garoppolo to make him a little uncomfortable.
Plus, with Garoppolo coming off of an injury where he yet again will miss ample time, the Cardinals also won’t be obligated to sign him to a long-term deal. Nor would any NFL team considering the quarterback’s injury history.
Jimmy Garoppolo could be the Arizona Cardinals unlikely hero in 2023
We’ve watched this movie before. Twice, really. We saw it with Kurt Warner and Matt Leinart, then we saw it again when the Arizona Cardinals traded for Carson Palmer to replace the overrated John Skelton.
So it wouldn’t necessarily be out of the ordinary for the Cardinals to sign someone like Garoppolo to push the underachieving incumbent. Or if the dominoes fall correctly, replace the underachieving incumbent.
And Garoppolo, despite the media almost universally seeing him as a backup, has a few credentials Murray has yet to achieve. One of which involved leading a team to the Super Bowl. Many will argue Garoppolo rode the defense, but that didn’t stop him from passing for nearly 4,000 yards, 27 touchdowns (more than Murray has ever thrown in a single season), and a 102.0 passer rating.
Sure, Garoppolo is injury-prone, but he is also a ridiculous 40-17 as a starter with a career passer rating of 99.6. He also started 15 games last season and was sacked just 29 times, and in 2022, 18 times. This indicates he also displays quick decision-making skills.
Besides, he had a completion percentage of 67.2%, 16 touchdown passes in 10 starts, four picks, 7,9 yards per pass attempt, and a quarterback rating of 103.0. In short, Garoppolo, in 2022 at least, has put Murray to shame. Especially with that 7-3 record.
While it would take a lot to convince Garoppolo to come to the desert given Murray’s presence, one incentive is to let him know he has a fair chance to win the starting job at quarterback. Another incentive? He can face the 49ers, a team that spurned him for the unproven Trey Lance, twice a year.
Offer him a one-year deal. And if he wins the job, plays well without getting hurt, and makes the Arizona Cardinals watchable again, he’s your long-term quarterback.
Or, if Murray gets his act together and takes the starting job, then Garoppolo moves on in 2024, and there’s no harm done. Next to the fact you would see a much more productive Kyler Murray, regardless of who is calling the plays.
(Statistics provided by Pro-Football-Reference)
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