How much would Jimmy Garoppolo improve the Panthers in 2022?

(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) Jimmy Garoppolo
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) Jimmy Garoppolo /

How much would the potential acquisition of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo improve the Carolina Panthers during the 2022 season? 

Matt Rhule may have stated that Sam Darnold would start if the season started today, but the Carolina Panthers would be running a major risk if this scenario came to fruition. The former USC product might have enjoyed a strong offseason so far according to reports, but the bad film he’s accumulated over the last four years tells us much more.

The Panthers swung big for Darnold last season with little success. They’ve been aggressive in their pursuit of finding an upgrade with only Matt Corral to show for it, who could be a long-term starter even if it doesn’t happen for the third-round selection right away.

This leaves the Panthers facing the prospect of bringing Cam Newton back for one more go-around or pulling the trigger on another veteran trade. Discussions recently took place regarding Baker Mayfield coming on board without anything concrete emerging, with Jimmy Garoppolo representing another intriguing option if the opportunity presents itself.

Although Mayfield remains the most likely outcome, the Panthers might become more receptive to Garoppolo if he is eventually released by the San Francisco 49ers. Whether this is something the NFC West outfit will end up doing is anybody’s guess despite their clear intention to move forward with Trey Lance.

Carolina reportedly wants nothing to do with Garoppolo’s $26.95 million cap number in 2022.

And make no mistake, they won’t be alone.

This only complicates matters from the Niners’ point of view. Releasing Garoppolo further down the line comes with substantial cap relief, but the Panthers are also looking to get in someone ahead of training camp so they can fully integrate themselves within Ben McAdoo’s system.

Jimmy Garoppolo could improve the Carolina Panthers in 2022

Just how much better the Panthers would be with Garoppolo under center is debatable. Providing there are no further complications from the quarterback’s offseason surgery on his throwing shoulder, he could make a massive difference and is certainly an upgrade on anything Darnold’s produced throughout his time in the league.

Garoppolo is a proven performer if everything around him shines. The Panthers are set to have a much-improved offensive line next season and they also have an abundance of weapons to call upon in the passing game to further assist his cause.

That’s not to mention the return to health of running back Christian McCaffrey.

The former second-round pick has a quick release and reads defenses well. This makes him a tremendous fit with McAdoo calling the shots and something that could assist the Panthers in their pursuit of being competitive in 2022.

Of course, this would be nothing more than a short-term solution to an ongoing complication. But adding another veteran such as Garoppolo provides Corral with extra time to work on specific areas with a view to assuming command under center in the coming years.

There aren’t many analysts or sportsbooks across the country expecting Carolina to make waves next season. The Panthers have the third-worst odds to win the NFC South at +1,250 (bet $100 to win $1,250) according to the latest odds from WynnBET, with their over/under set at 5.5 wins for the upcoming campaign.

If Garoppolo came on board, that total could rise by a couple of games. He turns the Panthers from a potential five or six-win team to one with a ceiling of around 9-10 victories, which might be enough for Rhule to get another season in the job.

A lot has to occur before Garoppolo to the Panthers becomes a reality. But time is not on the team’s side and this is the primary reason why they might go in a different direction.

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