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San Francisco 49ers give Jimmy Garoppolo permission to seek a trade: 3 teams that make sense

Vincent Frank

It’s very possible that we could see a Jimmy Garoppolo trade from the San Francisco 49ers at some point within the next couple weeks.

Garoppolo has been cleared to start practicing after undergoing off-season shoulder surgery. In doing so, he’s also been given permission to seek a trade.

It’s long been a foregone conclusion that San Francisco would move off Garoppolo one way or another and install second-year quarterback Trey Lance as its starting quarterback. We’re now nearing that eventuality.

Related: Jimmy Garoppolo and five potential NFL training camp cuts

Will the San Francisco 49ers find a trade partner for Jimmy Garoppolo?

Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The first hurdle has been cleared in this regard. San Francisco was close to trading Garoppolo early this offseason before he opted to undergo surgery on his throwing shoulder. That pretty much put an end to trade talks. Now that Garoppolo has been cleared to practice, things are back to square one.

At issue here is Garoppolo’s injury history, contract and the fact that the market for quarterback-needy teams has dried up.

Jimmy Garoppolo contract: $26.95 million cap hit in 2022; free agent in 2023

Any acquiring team would be on the hook for a near $25 million cap hit. That’s why Garoppolo’s camp, led by agent Don Yee, is willing to discuss a renegotiated deal to lower his 2022 cap number and keep him under contract somewhat long-term. Sources say that those discussions have already started.

With the Carolina Panthers’ acquisition of Baker Mayfield, the number of teams potentially interested in Garoppolo has narrowed. There’s been a recent report that the New York Giants could kick the tires on him. It makes sense in that Garoppolo would be a marked upgrade over current starter Daniel Jones.

“I initially thought Brian [Daboll] would make a move for Mitchell Trubisky when he was available because you don’t necessarily know what you have in Daniel Jones. Now with Jimmy, I think the issue is his shoulder. No one really knows. I think what teams are going to do is wait until the first or second preseason game — if Jimmy gets in for San Francisco — and just kind of see. Like, does he look healthy? And then I think that’s when you might see the Giants make a move.”

NFL Media’s David Carr on New York GIants interest in Jimmy Garoppolo

The division-rival Seattle Seahawks likely make the most sense for Garoppolo. They have a need under center with Drew Lock and Geno Smith competing for a job. They have also kicked the tires on acquiring Garoppolo.

This situation is complicated in that we have a hard time expecting San Francisco and Seattle to work out a trade. They are bitter rivals. Meanwhile, it’s an open question whether San Francisco would want to see Garoppolo twice per season.

Related: Jimmy Garoppolo and NFL’s top QBs of 2022

The Cleveland Browns as a realistic landing spot for Jimmy Garoppolo

jimmy garopolo trade
Sam Greene/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

The arbitrator in the NFL’s disciplinary hearing against Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson is expected to make a decision on a suspension at some point this month. At that point, we’ll know how long Watson will be sidelined.

The NFL continues to push for an indefinite suspension that would last the minimum of a calendar year. If this were to happen, Cleveland might be in the market for a quarterback. Obviously, Garoppolo would make sense a an upgrade over current backup Jacoby Brissett. It’s certainly something to keep an eye on in the coming days.