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Report: Rams had “makings of a deal” with Jimmy Garoppolo if 49ers released him

Matthew Stafford’s elbow has been a lingering concern all season. Is it more serious than the Rams have let on?

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Rams had a deal in place to sign San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo if the 49ers ended up releasing him, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.

San Francisco has replaced Garoppolo as their starter with second-year signal caller Trey Lance, who the team gave up a wealth of draft capital in order to acquire with the third overall pick in last year’s draft. The 49ers were unable to find a trade partner for the veteran quarterback - in part due to him rehabbing a shoulder injury for most of the offseason.

Per Schefter’s report, the “makings of a deal” was in place ahead of Garoppolo’s potential release; however, after an up-and-down training camp and preseason from Lance, the team agreed on a re-worked deal to retain the veteran quarterback as an insurance policy.

Garoppolo and the Rams had the makings of a deal if he was released by the Niners, who were unaware that the defending Super Bowl champions were looking into signing him, according to sources.

The 49ers didn’t learn about the Rams’ interest until after they agreed with Garoppolo on a one-year deal worth up to $16 million, sources said.

There are three potential takeaways from the Rams’ reported interest in Garoppolo, though we may never know which may have been the most significant driving force behind the news:

1 - Matthew Stafford’s elbow injury is more worrisome than the Rams have let on

Stafford simply did not look himself during the team’s season opening on Thursday night. He threw three interceptions and did not drive the ball down the field. Stafford lacked a sense of urgency in the pocket, which could possibly be attributed to his lack of practice reps while he rested his elbow.

2 - LA does not have confidence in reserve QB’s John Wolford, Bryce Perkins

It’s not all that surprising - Wolford and Perkins are on the backend of the spectrum of quality for backup quarterbacks. Neither individual’s performance in the preseason did much to prove that they are ready to be a the true long-term backup behind Stafford, but based on the alternatives it was worth keeping them around.

The Rams seem to maintain that they believe the most likely outcome, if Stafford misses any time, would be that the reserve quarterback would only need to fill in for a two or three game stretch at max - so it’s not worth investing the heavy salary cap or draft capital to find a premium backup. Signing Garoppolo would have been a departure from that rationale.

3 - The Rams were in it for the compensatory pick, which is just a classic talent collection move by Les Snead

If the Rams were to sign Garoppolo, it would be tough to see him stick around for longer than the 2022 season. Inevitably he would leave in free agency to a team willing to let him compete for their starting role - which means potential starting money for the veteran QB.

Was Les Snead just playing the long game in order to acquire an eventual third, fourth, or fifth round compensatory draft pick in 2024?