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San Francisco 49ers will reportedly only keep QB Jimmy Garoppolo under one condition

Matt Johnson

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is closing in on a return from offseason shoulder surgery. While it could be a significant step towards clarity on his future, it’s becoming increasingly evident that his days in San Francisco are numbered.

This isn’t the situation San Francisco expected to find itself in right now. Following the loss in the NFC Championship Game, the 49ers felt confident they could move Garoppolo quickly. While he wasn’t a high-end quarterback, the number of teams desperate at the position made a trade seem inevitable.

  • Jimmy Garoppolo stats (2021): 68.3% completion rate, 3,810 yards, 20-12 TD-INT, 98.7 QB rating

Everything quickly unraveled. Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan all filled many of the vacancies available. Still, finding a home for the veteran quarterback seemed possible even if San Francisco’s asking price was high.

Related: Carolina Panthers ‘team to watch’ for Jimmy Garoppolo

All of that changed when Garoppolo underwent shoulder surgery in March, a procedure that would sideline him until July and wipe out any chance of a deal happening before the summer. He has remained on the roster ever since, excused from mandatory minicamp with his future hanging in the balance.

With the start of 49ers training camp just around the corner, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the 30-year-old quarterback’s days in California are numbered. While a move might not happen immediately, it seems there is only one unlikely scenario that would allow him to stay with the 49ers.

According to Nick Wagoner of ESPN, San Francisco will only keep Garoppolo on its roster into Week 1 if the veteran signal-caller agrees to take a substantial pay cut.

The 49ers owe Garoppolo a $24.2 million base salary this season and his contract carries a $26.95 million cap hit. With the franchise committed entirely to quarterback Trey Lance, committing nearly $27 million to a backup signal-caller is a waste of cap space for the franchise.

Garoppolo’s contract is also part of the reason why a trade hasn’t happened. NFL teams weren’t willing to eat more than half of the $18 million quarterback Baker Mayfield is owed this year, making Garoppolo’s financial commitment an even bigger hurdle.

Related: NFL execs think Jimmy Garoppolo will be released

San Francisco could approach its veteran about restructuring his deal, offering him an adjusted deal with reachable incentives if he is forced into action and becomes the starter. However, it seems increasingly likely that the two sides might ultimately just have to agree to a buyout. At that point, the Seattle Seahawks and Carolina Panthers would immediately pursue Garoppolo in free agency.