Jimmy G: Perfect For Pittsburgh?

By Andy Davies

Various media outlets are reporting that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos are expected to make a ‘strong push’ for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Andy Davies looks at why Heinz Field would be an ideal landing spot for the embattled QB:

Looking For A New Home

Credit: Sporting News

After the NFC Championship game loss to the Los Angeles Rams, it is widely expected that Jimmy G has played his last game in a Niners uniform. With San Francisco trading up to take QB Trey Lance third overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, they are looking towards the future.

This means Garoppolo is on the market, and with the carousel of quarterback changes this offseason, there are plenty of teams that could use someone of his experience. And with likely first ballot Hall of Famer Ben Roethlisberger announcing his retirement this offseason, Pittsburgh makes more sense than most.

Question Marks At Quarterback

Dwayne Haskins and Mason Rudolph are the current two players battling for the Steelers’ starting QB spot. Rudolph shared the starting role with Devlin “Duck” Hodges in the 2019 season during Big Ben’s injury, but failed to deliver. Meanwhile, Haskins was seen as a low-risk option. If there is any coach that can get Haskins to unleash his potential, it is Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

Haskin’s character has come into question throughout his time in the NFL, but attitude problems do not affect Tomlin. He already has vast experience in dealing with big egos, from Antonio Brown to Roethlisberger, Chase Claypool, Le’Veon Bell, and Juju Smith-Schuster.

However, they reached the playoffs with an ageing Big Ben. The roster clearly isn’t a million miles off. With this season’s sack leader T.J. Watt in the prime of his career, this organisation won’t want to waste this ‘Super Bowl window’ with someone under center who has a huge question mark hanging over his head.

Everyone Likes Jimmy

Credit: 49ers.com

Garoppolo is someone that has continued to be popular in the locker room and the Steelers will take a liking to this. Running back Najee Harris, who had 1,200 regular season rushing yards in 2021 during his rookie campaign, spoke of Jimmy G being someone he would like to work with:

“Even guys like Jimmy G. I like him too. Someone that comes into compete, that will fit the offense.”

Harris could be a key teammate for Garoppolo, with the Niners run game key to their offensive success with him at the helm. Having the run game to rely on helps ease the pressure on him.

He will be helped by an offensive line that was not too dissimilar to the Niners when you look at sacks allowed, with just a six-sack difference. However, the run game of the Steelers will need to improve if they want Garoppolo to be a success in Pittsburgh. Only the Houston Texans (3.16), New Orleans Saints (3.57) and the Miami Dolphins (3.62) had less running back yards per carry than the Steelers (3.75). The Steelers also finished the regular season 29th in total rushing yards (1,853) and yards per game on the ground (93.1).

A Framework For Success

Pittsburgh were middle of the pack when it came to passing yards last year, but Garoppolo will feel comfortable in his options to throw to; Claypool, Smith-Schuster (if healthy) and Dionte Johnson, as well as tight end Pat Freiermuth, who had seven touchdown receptions this season.

Both the Niners and Steelers built on momentum as they made great runs into the playoffs. Whilst San Francisco made it to the NFC Championship and Pittsburgh only lasted one game in the postseason, they both rallied around their quarterback and found ways to win.

Garoppolo may not be a long-term fix due to his limitations and injury record, but offers stability in a time of uncertainty at the position. With the quarterback draft class not seen as anything exciting this season, free agency may be the way to go for the Steelers – and Garoppolo could easily be the best option available for the franchise.



A current Sports Journalism masters student, Andy has been writing NFL articles since January 2020. Originally from Wales, Andy also writes for pro football mania and dolphins talk, as well as appearing on podcasts and videos for euro tripz. find him on twitter @andydaviessport.