What can the San Francisco 49ers do about the Jimmy Garoppolo situation?
Jimmy Garoppolo appeared to be on his way once the San Francisco 49ers drafted QB Trey Lance with the third pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. He played yet another season as a starting quarterback in California, achieving a 12-8 record and an appearance in the NFC Championship Game, although his game was not the main factor in his team’s success. This time, it looks like his time with the 49ers is finally over and he’ll be on another team once September and the NFL season rolls around.
An exit interview and an injury
In February, right after the 49ers’ 20-17 loss to the Rams, team general manager John Lynch and Garoppolo got together and decided that, as the QB explained, they were interested in “finding the right destination” for the player. Garoppolo finished the season as a starter even amid his nagging injuries and Trey Lance’s development as a run-pass QB, but he still had to undergo right shoulder surgery in March. The 30-year-old QB is still recovering from the procedure, but he was able to resume throwing in the past two weekswhich makes him a more attractive player to trade if he can prepare for the start of the season.
This will allow teams to see firsthand what shape Garoppolo is in and how he could help their teams, with a few like the Seattle Seahawks already interested and inquiring about his situation. The biggest hurdle to getting a deal, one that would throw the 49ers right into Trey Lance’s time as QB, is the ex-Patriot’s $24.2 million salary, for which most teams have no space. Both QBs had similar passer ratings, 98.7 for Garoppolo and 97.3 for Lancebut the team expects the latter to continue improving as he is in his rookie contract which would also help the team have more resources to build around him.
An unsecured deal
Jimmy Garoppolo is exploring his options through his agent Don Yee, both in terms of what teams he can end up with and for how much money. He has previously denied the possibility of a meeting with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, but Yee said his client is “Progressing well and on schedule. We are optimistic for the coming season..
It’s the 49ers who still hold the cards and can decide where Garoppolo ends up next season, but they’ve already shown their willingness to let other teams talk to their QB about revamping his contract. The fact that none of Garoppolo’s $24.2 million is guaranteed means teams such as the Seahawks, which currently only have about $15 million in cap space, could still sue the quarterback if he agrees to take a pay cut. It will be a waiting game, with Garoppolo perhaps willing to forgive some of his salary if he is guaranteed a starting spot on a roster, as would likely be the case in Seattle, with Drew Lock being his only rival there. Right now, the Browns are one of the only teams with enough cap space to absorb his contract directlyas they deal with the Deshaun Watson situation.
The 49ers can be sure Garoppolo won’t make their team once training camp is over and roster spots start to count, but they’re keeping him with the hope they can still acquire some sort of asset in a trade for the 30-year-old if some teams show enough interest. If that doesn’t happen, Garoppolo will most likely end up being released and be free to negotiate with any team that still has a need for the QB when the time comes.