It’s now been a long drawn-out process between the San Francisco 49ers and lame-duck quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Two months after San Francisco’s season came to an end with a loss to the eventual champion Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, Garoppolo remains a member of the team.
Immediately after said loss, both Jimmy GQ and the organization pretty much admitted that his time had come to an end in Northern California. The 49ers were prepared to roll with 2021 No. 3 pick Trey Lance under center. For his part, Garoppolo saw the writing on the wall.
“I was talking to John (Lynch) yesterday about finding the right destination. I just want to go to a place where they want to win.”Jimmy Garoppolo on likely trade (February 1, 2022)
It’s now looking less certain that Garoppolo will be traded by San Francisco. The market for quarterback-needy teams has thinned out considerably after multiple blockbuster trades. Meanwhile, Garoppolo just recently had shoulder surgery and is likely to miss the entire off-season program.
In speaking to the media from the NFL meetings on Monday, 49ers general manager John Lynch now wants us to believe that they have planned for a scenario in which Garoppolo returns to the 49ers in 2022.
“I think we’re fortunate that we have three quarterbacks we believe in Trey, Jimmy and Nate. And, you know, some people are looking for one. So I think that’s a position of strength.”San Francisco 49ers’ John Lynch to reporters, via Matt Barrows of The Athletic
A report has also surfaced over the weekend that San Francisco might simply release Garoppolo as a cost-cutting measure with the team up against the salary cap. Lynch wasn’t having any of that.
San Francisco 49ers’ PR game with Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t working
Let’s be honest for a second here. Once interested teams such as the Indianapolis Colts (Matt Ryan) and Washington Commanders (Carson Wentz) went in another direction, the market for a Garoppolo trade dwindled big time.
There’s only a couple of quarterback-needy teams remaining at this point in the offseason. Those organizations, the Houston Texans and Carolina Panthers, seemingly have no interest in trading for Garoppolo.
- Jimmy Garoppolo contract: $25 million cap hit in 2022; free agent in 2023
That’s the crux of the issue. Add in Garoppolo’s recent surgery, and teams simply have no interest in paying the veteran that cap hit while yielding draft picks to San Francisco.
What the San Francisco 49ers are doing here is playing the long game. The inevitability of a starting quarteback being injured around training camp or the preseason exists. At that point, some team might become desperate to add Garoppolo to the mix.
At issue here are the finances. San Francisco would save $25.5 million against the cap by simply releasing Garoppolo. Right now, the 49ers are in the second-worst cap situation around the NFL with $1.92 million in room.
It has led to the 49ers being pretty idle during NFL free agency with holes opening up due to key departures. San Francisco needs more room under the cap to simply sign its 2022 NFL Draft class.
It is also working on what would be massive contract extensions for All-Pros such as wide receiver Deebo Samuel and edge rusher Nick Bosa.
In short, the 49ers can’t really afford to play the long game here. Now that other teams know that the market has deteriorated for Jimmy Garoppolo, why would they give up draft picks and pay him that cap figure in 2022? It makes no sense.
Seen as legitimate Super Bowl contenders, the San Francisco 49ers have not played this situation close to the vest. Garoppolo will not be back in 2022. Regardless of what the 49ers’ brass wants us to believe, that’s not happening.
After all, Garoppolo was a champion dealing with the entire Lance situation last season. There’s no way he’s going to head into 2022 as a lame duck and sitting behind Lance while collecting dust.