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San Francisco 49ers still looking to pull off Jimmy Garoppolo trade, QB willing to restructure contract

Vincent Frank

All seems to be quiet on the Jimmy Garoppolo trade front as the San Fracisco 49ers quarterback mends from off-season shoulder surgery.

San Francisco remains commited to young quarterback Trey Lance as its Week 1 starter against the Chicago Bears. The team thought it had a trade in place earlier in the offseason before Garoppolo opted to undergo surgery. That pretty much put an end to trade talks.

However, there’s still a strong chance that Garoppolo will be dealt this summer. He’s the most-accomplished quarterback on the market right now and has led San Francisco to two NFC Championship Game appearances over the past three seasons.

Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reports that the 49ers still plan on trading Garoppolo ahead of Week 1. And in what is a new wrinkle, the NFL insider notes that Garoppolo is open to restructuring his contract in order to help facilitate a trade.

“If a team’s out there wanting to renegotiate the final year of his contract, which has $24.8 million on it (and is not guaranteed), as part of a trade, the opportunity’s there to do it, and other teams know it.”

Albert Breer on potential Jimmy Garoppolo trade

As noted, an acquiring team would be on the hook for $24.8 million. That’s a huge cap number at this point in the offseason.

If Garoppolo is willing to restructure, that could open up the lines of communication with quarterback-needy teams such as the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans.

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Jimmy Garoppolo trade market remains limited

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There were numerous teams kicking the tires on a potential Garoppolo trade before he underwent surgery. Since then, the market has dwindled with those interested teams having moved on to other options.

That includes the Denver Broncos (Russell Wilson), Cleveland Browns (Deshaun Watson), Washington Commanders (Carson Wentz) and Indianapolis Colts (Matt Ryan).

This leaves the Panthers as the likeliest potential trade partner. They are set to rely on a struggling Sam Darnold under center in 2022. Rookie Matt Corral is nowhere near ready to take first-team reps. Garoppolo would be an upgrade over both.

Jimmy Garoppolo stats (2021): 68% completion, 3,810 yards, 20 TD, 12 INT, 98.7 rating

Sam Darnold stats (2021): 60% completion, 2,527 yards, 9 TD, 13 INT, 71.9 rating

The issue here is Garoppolo’s contract. Hence, why restructuring his current deal while adding a year or two to the mix would make sense. Carolina could back-load said contract to take into account Darnold’s status as a free agent in 2023.

As for the Texans, things are a bit more complicated. Sure general manager Nick Caserio has a built-in relationship with Garoppolo dating back to their days together with the New England Patriots. With that said, Caserio and Co. seem to be high on 2021 third-round pick Davis Mills under center.

“When I say I believe in him, (offensive coordinator) Pep Hamilton, second year in the system, all of these things. … If you just go back and look at the plays that he made, throwing the ball downfield last year, so many good things that he did, and that’s as a rookie.”

Houston Texans head coach Lovie Smith on Davis Mills

If that is indeed the case, it might be the Panthers or bust in a potential Jimmy Garoppolo trade. Then again, the 49ers could wait to see if quarterbacks struggle during training camp or if there’s an injury to another signal caller around the NFL.

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Either way, this is a story that’s not going to die down until something gets done. Trey Lance is the futue in San Francisco. Garoppolo remains in communication with the organization in an attempt to find an ideal landing spot. It will likely happen ahead of Week 1. It’s just a matter of when.

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