Jimmy Garoppolo returned to the 49ers this year only because his trade market never heated up. But that doesn't mean teams weren't interested at all. Days ahead of San Francisco's Week 5 matchup with the Panthers, the veteran quarterback told reporters Thursday that Carolina nearly acquired him this summer.

"I think we were advancing (in talks) with a couple different teams," Garoppolo said, per NFL Media. "Nothing obviously came to fruition. (The Panthers) were top of the list, I would say, one of the top couple. (But) I'm glad things worked out. I'm here, so I'm focused on this stuff now."

In addition to retaining Sam Darnold, their big-name QB addition of the previous offseason, the Panthers went on to acquire Baker Mayfield from the Browns in July. Garoppolo, meanwhile, agreed to a revised contract with the 49ers in late August, after San Francisco failed to find a trade partner. Both the 49ers and Garoppolo had forecast a breakup, with 2021 first-rounder Trey Lance set to take over under center, but now Garoppolo is back in the saddle indefinitely after Lance suffered a broken ankle in Week 2.

It's safe to say the 49ers ended up with the better QB investment, at least for now. Mayfield has ranked among the league's worst starters during a 1-3 start for Carolina, and it's possible the only reason the Panthers haven't already benched him is because Darnold is still recovering from a preseason injury. Garoppolo, on the other hand, has the 49ers atop the NFC West at 2-2, fresh off a dominant victory over the reigning Super Bowl champion Rams.