Jimmy Garoppolo trade: Texans could be dark horse post-draft option

The trade drama surrounding Deebo Samuel and the 49ers has temporarily diverted attention from what was once the elephant in the room for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan.

Jimmy Garoppolo, the good but not good enough quarterback who the 49ers started pushing out the door by drafting Trey Lance, remains on the roster. The 49ers planned to trade Garoppolo by the start of the new league year, but offseason shoulder surgery halted any talks, and most of the QB-needy teams made moves to fill their signal-caller void.

The Carolina Panthers are the most-likely remaining trade destination for Garoppolo, but there is another lurking in the shadows as the 2022 NFL Draft starts Thursday.

The Houston Texans, who are undergoing a full rebuild after finally shedding Deshaun Watson, might be players for Garoppolo after the draft conclusions.

Garoppolo and Texans general manager Nick Caserio have history from their time together in New England. While the Texans want to give second-year quarterback Davis Mills a legitimate shot to be the starter, bringing in a veteran like Garoppolo to mentor and push the Stanford product might be beneficial in the long run to Mills and the Texans.

As of right now, the Texans have Jeff Driskel and Kyle Allen backing up Mills. Neither are talented enough to battle Mills for the starting job, nor should they be trusted to keep the competitive Texans should Mills be injured or ineffective as the starter.

The Texans should and will give Mills every chance to prove he’s the guy for their future. He showed enough flashes late last season for the Texans to reasonably believe he could be the long-term answer. But if he’s not and things go bad, the Texans could use a reliable veteran to steady the ship and keep the vibes up even if wins are hard to come by.

Despite his wars, Garoppolo, 30, is an above-average veteran quarterback who is a great locker room presence.

Turning around the Texans is a big undertaking for Caserio and new head coach Lovie Smith, one which will take an influx of talent and a culture change.

Garoppolo can help with the latter, having spent his early years learning The Patriot Way before helping turn around a beleaguered 49ers franchise. He would, at the very least, give the rebuilding Texans a consummate professional in the quarterback room and could help deliver a few wins, if needed, as he looks to rebuild his value.

RELATED: Jimmy G and Deebo trades among six draft bold predictions

The Panthers have an obvious need at QB. If they don’t reach for one with the No. 6 overall pick, expect them to engage the 49ers in Garoppolo talks post-draft.

But there’s a good chance Carolina leaves Thursday night with a new signal-caller, leaving the 49ers with few places to send Garoppolo.

The Texans could end up being the only team interested in saving the 49ers from what would be an awkward situation come training camp.

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