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NFL Rumors: Rams Wanted Jimmy Garoppolo to Back Up Stafford If 49ers Released QB

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The LA Rams were reportedly ready to sign Jimmy Garoppolo if the division-rival 49ers released him.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported the Rams planned to focus on Garoppolo as a backup to Matthew Stafford, who handled a lingering elbow issue through the entire offseason and looked rusty in Thursday’s loss to the Buffalo Bills.

The 49ers were reportedly unaware that the Rams were sitting on the sidelines prepared to pounce.

“It had been likely to be this type of Rams thing to do,” an associate of the 49ers organization told Schefter. “Sean McVay and Kevin Demoff could have been basking inside it.”

After failing to locate a trade partner, the 49ers and Garoppolo decided to a restructured contract which could pay the quarterback around $16 million with incentives. He’ll open the 2022 season because the backup to Trey Lance, the 2021 first-round pick whom the 49ers traded three first-round picks to obtain.

“Seeing another opportunities which were out there and you also weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of everything,” Garoppolo said after agreeing to the restructured deal. “Believe me, there was lots of backwards and forwards going on just with other teams and what I needed my future to check like. Therefore, this is exactly what I needed.”

The 49ers didn’t trade Garoppolo in large part because he spent the offseason rehabbing from shoulder surgery. The NFL’s game of quarterback musical chairs played out almost entirely while Garoppolo was struggling to throw for interested teams.

As the pairing didn’t happen, the Rams’ fascination with Garoppolo is interesting from the theoretical standpoint. It could mean the coaching staff is really a little more worried about Stafford’s elbow than they’ve let with this offseason. Stafford looked nothing beats the MVP candidate he was this past year Thursday night, throwing three interceptions and many other wildly inaccurate passes.

Garoppolo could have been at the very top backup option in the event of a Stafford injury, with the capacity of at the very least keeping the Rams in the playoff picture. Instead, John Wolford opened the growing season because the backup to Stafford.

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