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Jimmy Garoppolo and Tom Brady projected to be divisional rivals in the near future

The two former teammates might be seeing each other often again as soon as this fall.

Jimmy Garoppolo was supposed to be the heir apparent to future hall of fame quarterback Tom Brady in New England when he was drafted in 2014. Instead, the then 37-year-old Brady surprised everyone with his longevity and forced the franchise to trade Garoppolo or lose him for nothing. The Patriots dealt the former Eastern Illinois star to San Fransisco in 2017.

READ MORE: Tom Brady Fires Back at Josh Allen 

Brady ended up playing for the franchise through 2019, winning his sixth Super Bowl before signing with Tampa Bay. It's safe to say New England made the right move as Garoppolo failed to get the 49ers over the hump in 2019, falling to the Chiefs in the Super Bowl.

It appears that the two might be seeing more of each other again in the near future. According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, Garoppolo is still available and the Carolina Panthers are one of the only teams pursuing a quarterback this late in the offseason.

"The only team right now who seems to be want to be in the mix of trading for a quarterback that we know is the Carolina Panthers," Rapoport said. "So, they would be the team that makes sense."

In March, Garoppolo underwent surgery on his shoulder for an ailment that bothered him throughout 2021. He hasn't thrown in months and the thought process is will Garoppolo be worth the investment that the Panthers or another team will have to trade to land him? San Francisco has all of the leverage, particularly if someone loses a starting quarterback during the season.

"This is an injury though, like think about it, he hasn't thrown in four months," Rappoport said. "He's going to throw, it should be actually pretty shortly, probably in the next couple of weeks, which is good. But if you're a team trading for him, trading a significant something compensation, maybe a mid-round draft pick, maybe better. Certainly could be better, he's a starting quarterback, plus paying him. You need him to make all of throws. When is he going to be there?"

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Brady and Garoppolo will be connected forever and there might even be a budding rivalry between the two. After all, the 45-year-old quarterback publicly voiced his displeasure when discussing how San Fransisco chose Garoppolo over him. Brady grew up a fan of the 49ers and it was rumored they were his preferred destination when he was a free agent.

Instead, Brady landed with the Buccaneers and promptly won a championship over the Kansas City Chiefs, who were the team that dispatched Garoppolo in 2019. 

READ MORE: Tom Brady's Reaction to Gronk Retirement

The storylines would certainly be intriguing if this move comes to fruition. The Panthers drafted Matt Corral in April but it may be better to sit him for a year and allow him to develop. After Sam Darnold's performance in 2021, it's obvious he's not the answer for a franchise that needs to win if head coach Matt Rhule is going to be around much longer.

Garoppolo won't make Carolina an instant Super Bowl contender. But, he will make them a lot better than the current iteration of the Panthers.

Stick with BucsGameday for more coverage on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers throughout the offseason.

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