Jimmy Garoppolo trade news and rumors: Chances of 49ers QB deal stuck at 50/505 min read
Will the 49ers still trade Jimmy Garoppolo? That’s the biggest question hanging over the team ahead of 2022 training camp and it won’t be answered for for a while.
Garoppolo has been left in limbo in San Francisco as the team’s incumbent starting quarterback despite the fact 2021 No. 3 overall draft pick Trey Lance looks ready for the job in Year 2 after a mostly “redshirt” rookie season.
Although Garoppolo has played well and helped the 49ers win big under coach Kyle Shanahan — including getting to Super Bowl 54 and second NFC championship game last season — going full-time with Lance in the second year of his contract has been the lean.
Garoppolo, however, remains a 49er after June 1 because of unexpected developments, such as Garoppolo needing to have shoulder surgery and veteran QB carousel moving too fast through blockbuster trades. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect with a potential Garoppolo trade (or no trade) going forward:
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What’s holding up a Jimmy Garoppolo trade now?
The law of supply and demand is at work. There are limited suitors in need of a potential starting QB this late into the offseason. The Browns are having the same issue in trying to move Baker Mayfield.
Unlike Cleveland with Mayfield, San Francisco has no air of desperation around moving Garoppolo. despite having the least available salary cap in the NFL. The 49ers also know they can make it work should Garoppolo need to stay as a strong QB contingency plan or a mentoring backup to Lance. The Browns, meanwhile, don’t have any kind of role for Mayfield should he stay.
The Seahawks need to add a more reliable option beyond Drew Lock, Geno Smith and Jacob Eason, but the rub is it’s not in the 49ers’ best interest to bail out a much weakened post-Russell Wilson AFC West archrival by sending them Garoppolo.
The Panthers have been wishy-washy about whether Sam Darnold needs to be pushed by more than just third-round rookie Matt Corral. They have tried their best to land Mayfield without spending too much in relation to the Browns.
They might turn more their attention to Garoppolo, but only if the Panthers think he’s worth it as an upgrade and need to stay in the veteran market. They can just about make it work with the salary cap as is with Garoppolo at $25 million under but they would face a crunch unless they can also trade Darnold for $18.858 million in relief to compensate.
The Texans, Saints and Lions all feel some level of comfort with their quarterbacks vs. overspending on an outsider, but any real interest would likely require an injury affecting their current QB rooms.
Beyond deciding whether Garoppolo is needed, the biggest obstacle for a suitor is the massive salary and cap hit. The 49ers may not be able to move Garoppolo without restructuring his contract, something to which he should be amenable if it means he’s guaranteed a fresh starting shot elsewhere.
What is Jimmy Garoppolo’s salary-cap hit and how much will the 49ers save by trading him?
The 49ers have the lowest available cap space in the NFL as they are almost even with it the $202.8 million cap number for 2022. Garoppolo carries a $26.95 million hit toward that, or 13 percent.
Should the 49ers trade or release Garoppolo, they would save $25.55 million. The rest would be eaten in only $1.4 million in dead money.
Would the 49ers reconsider releasing Jimmy Garoppolo if no deal develops?
General manager John Lynch was adamant about this not being a possibility earlier in the offseason. At this stage, it would be a desperate move to do just to save big money toward the cap, even if there’s the additional intangible motive of Lance not needing to look over his shoulder.
Although the release would bring out the same cap relief as a trade — unlike the Browns’ situation with Mayfield — it’s also getting rid of a valuable option with no compensation. Garoppolo would at least merit a high compensatory draft pick should he leave as an unsigned free agent in 2023.
Would the 49ers settle on Jimmy Garoppolo sticking around with Lance?
It’s an expensive plan without a restructure to keep Garoppolo as a No. 2 for the final year of his contract, but the 49ers can afford to do it short-term and might give them some comfort in camp about making a smooth QB transition going into 2023.
The 49ers also could let Garoppolo and Lance compete for the starting job, giving Garoppolo a chance to earn his starter-worthy current salary for one more season. They also could also lose confidence that Lance can handle everything in Shanahan’s offense in his second season and want Garoppolo to start for one more year outright.
The rest of the offseason workouts before camp will provide a better indication of whether Lance already can get to Garoppolo’s high floor on his way to a higher ceiling. Should there be little outside interest in completing a Garoppolo deal in 2022, there’s some real logic to him staying a 49er in either capacity.
When might the 49ers actually trade Jimmy Garoppolo?
Shanahan covered all his bases when he was asked about a Garoppolo trade in May OTAs.
“I expect at sometime he’ll be traded but it’s not a guarantee”, Shanahan said, also admitting Garoppolo’s surgery put any potential earlier deals on hold.
Garoppolo showing off a healed shoulder while throwing before camp can reassure teams to revisit a trade. The 49ers will likely stick to wanting a third-round draft pick in return, but that’s reasonable for two reasons.
First, that’s what the Colts gave the Falcons for another former Shanahan QB, Matt Ryan, in late March. Second, that’s the level of compensatory pick they should get in 2023 should Garoppolo walk as a free agent.
Because of many variables at play for the suitors and 49ers alike ranging from Mayfield to Lance, either the trade or no-trade scenarios have equal weight going into camp. Something will tip the balance to make them tip their hand.