Around the NFL: What’s Next for Jimmy G? Where Does Brady’s Final Season Rank? Meet the Commanders, Adiós Harbaugh, More

Jimmy Garoppolo has been under center for a pair of NFC Championship appearances and a Super Bowl appearance during his five seasons in San Francisco, but it seems that his days in the bay have come to an end. What’s next for Jimmy G, and when might that happen? Where does Tom Brady’s final season rank amongst the send-off seasons of the all-time greats? We’ve got that and more to discuss today, so let’s get into it.

What’s Next for Jimmy Garoppolo?

Jimmy Garoppolo’s fifth season in San Francisco saw the Eastern Illinois alum throw for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions and lead the 49ers to their second NFC Championship in the last three seasons. But with the 49ers first-rounder in 2021, Trey Lance, the quarterback of the future in waiting in San Francisco, Garoppolo knows that his time in San Francisco has ended.

Garoppolo even said his goodbyes to the 49ers fan base in a Tuesday press conference:

“It’s been a hell of a ride,” Garoppolo said to the 49ers fans. “I love you guys. See ya.”

Garoppolo told reporters in that press conference that he spoke to San Francisco GM John Lynch about his future on Monday, and it involved the 49ers trading him to a team ready to win.

“I was talking to John yesterday about finding the right destination and whatever the future holds, just doing it the right way,” Garoppolo said. “I’ve got a long career ahead of me. I’m excited about it. I’m excited about the opportunities to come. I just want to go to a place where they want to win. That’s really what I’m in this game for. I’m here to play football, win football games, and as long as I’ve got that and good people around me, I think the rest will take care of itself.”

San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan took a more non-committal approach to the situation at hand, stating that the 49ers have a pair of quarterbacks to be excited about and some decisions to be made, but never confirmed that they’ve already decided to go with Trey Lance moving forward.

“If we knew exactly what was happening, we would have told Jimmy,” Shanahan said. “But this season just ended, and we’ve got a great, young quarterback who was a rookie, and we have a great quarterback here who is a veteran. … I’ve got the ultimate respect for Jimmy, and I’m very excited about Trey. That’s where we’re at right now.”

But we know that the 49ers didn’t draft Trey Lance with the third-overall pick last spring for nothing, and while the 49ers have been to a Super Bowl and another NFC Championship with Garoppolo under center, his time is up. Garoppolo knows it; they know it, we know it. So, what’s next?

The Broncos, Steelers, Saints, and Buccaneers jump out as immediate potential landing spots. The Panthers, Texans, and Commanders are also teams that will likely be in the quarterback market. The Colts and Dolphins could also be in the market if either team decides to move from their current starters, Carson Wentz and Tua Tagovailoa. Regardless of where he ends up, it’ll be in the 49ers’ best interest to get a deal done before the new league year on March 16, when Garoppolo is scheduled to count $26.9 million against San Francisco’s salary cap in 2022. The 49ers stand to save roughly $25 million if they get the deal done before that date.

The Greatest Finish Ever?

With Tom Brady’s retirement now official, CBS’ Cody Benjamin asks, did Tom Brady have the greatest final season in NFL history?

https://twitter.com/NFLonCBS/status/1489239990064324611?s=20&t=ILPX1uMiyyphhrFJGISkLg

Benjamin lays out the 22 best finishes to an NFL career, in his opinion featuring some all-time greats such as Barry Sanders, John Elway, Jim Brown, Norm Van Brocklin, Andrew Luck, and Kurt Warner. Benjamin doesn’t have Brady finishing in the top spot in his rankings, but he’s close.

One would imagine that if Brady and the Bucs were able to outlast the Los Angeles Rams a couple of weeks ago, we would be having a different conversation. If Brady could have squeezed three more wins out and rode into the sunset celebrating Super Bowl victory No. 8, I would say that he would have had the most incredible send-off season in the history of the NFL.

The Washington Commanders

The Washington Football Team is no more. After a two-year run as the identity-less WFT, the Washington Commanders have arrived. Check out the team’s introductory video for the new branding in D.C.:

I’m not a fan of the team, so I don’t have any really strong opinions one way or another, but I will say that I think the whole branding gives me Madden NFL create-a-team vibes. But hey, as I said, that’s just me. I’ve been spoiled by the Chicago Bears’ timeless look and brand — well, except for the whole winning part — so I think it’s natural for me to look at a new branding launch by an NFL team and be less than impressed.

But, if the WFT or Commanders fans dig it, that’s all that matters. Let’s take a look at the new threads:

Bears fans will get a look at the new Washington Commanders branding in 2022, with the two teams set to play each other at Soldier Field next season.

Please be the End of the Harbaugh Talk

Jim Harbaugh was an immediate favorite of fans and pundits to land the Bears and Raiders vacant head coaching job. Then he was the favorite for the Vikings’ job. Then the Dolphins’ job. Then the Vikings’ job again. And now, he’s apparently (hopefully) staying in Ann Arbor.

Apparently, after flying to Minnesota (on the NCAA’s national signing day) to participate in a nine-hour interview with the Vikings, Harbaugh ended the evening by informing Michigan that he’s not going anywhere.

Evil genius? Raging egotistical maniac? Both? One will probably never know. I do know that I hope that I don’t have to hear Jim Harbaugh’s name for at least one year until he inevitability inserts himself into the narrative again next year.

Extra Points …

•   SoFi Stadium got a makeover for Super Bowl LVI:

https://twitter.com/Bengals/status/1489264147569074188?s=20&t=wmgxPw-flUCBF9qcGRgZXA

•   The Bengals will be wearing their home threads in next week’s Super Bowl …

https://twitter.com/TheAthletic/status/1489017225851723777?s=20&t=wmgxPw-flUCBF9qcGRgZXA

•   The New England Patriots released a statement from head coach Bill Belichick regarding Tom Brady’s retirement:

•   Tom Brady also released a video this morning highlighting his years with the New England Patriots. We know that Brady’s omission of the Patriots in his initial Instagram retirement post ruffled the feathers of the Patriots fan base. Hopefully, this makes up for it. If not, get over it, you cry babies, you got six rings out of the deal (says disgruntled life-long Bears fan).

•   This makes me feel old …

•   Game recognizes game. Tyrann Mathieu is one of the best in the NFL, and he was impressed by Joe Burrow’s game during last Sunday’s loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship.

https://twitter.com/jcav_8/status/1489025251048574977?s=20&t=wmgxPw-flUCBF9qcGRgZXA

•   This is wild:

•   The Minnesota Vikings are expected to hire Rams OC Kevin O’Connell. The move will have to wait until after the Super Bowl to become official.

•   Don’t forget to check out the NFL conference championship meeting:

written by

Patrick grew up in Chicago's Bridgeport and Garfield Ridge neighborhoods before moving to the Western Suburbs of Chicago before eventually relocating to the Las Vegas area with his family in 2023. He started with Bleacher Nation in 2021 and has spent time as a Staff Writer and on the Chicago Blackhawks beat. He is currently a writer and editor at Bleacher Nation covering the Chicago Bears and the NFL at large and the author of the Bleacher Nation Newsletter. Patrick is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA).

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