Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

What’s the hold-up on trading Jimmy Garoppolo? One 49ers insider has a theory

Mar 10, 2022 at 11:00 AM--

NFL teams must be at or below the $208.2 million salary cap by the start of the new league year on Wednesday, March 16. That creates a key date for the San Francisco 49ers, who OverTheCap estimates are currently $4.5 million over that limit.

That's what may be holding up a Jimmy Garoppolo trade.

NFL teams know that the 49ers need to get below that salary-cap mark by next week. So really, there may be no rush to overspend for Garoppolo, who is probably the best-available quarterback right now. As that critical date approaches, interested NFL teams might believe San Francisco feels the pressure to move Garoppolo. It might require a little roster maneuvering or some creating contract restructures to get under the cap if they can't.

"They move Jimmy Garoppolo, and that's not an issue," The Athletic's Matt Barrows said Thursday on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "He goes away and [frees up] $25 million in cap space. ... My point is I just wonder whether teams are using that deadline as leverage against the 49ers.

"This is maybe one of the reasons—the shoulder being another reason—to sort of drag this out and sort of get them to agree to a deal that doesn't give them quite as much compensation.

"The 49ers can do lots of other things—restructure [tight end] George Kittle. They can extend [safety] Jimmie Ward. They can cut this guy, cut that guy to get under that limit. But they have to be under it by [next] Wednesday, so they have to do a few things that they wouldn't normally want to do, I think, unless they trade Jimmy Garoppolo."

On Wednesday, NFL Media's Ian Rapoport reported that the 49ers are fielding several calls from teams interested in Garoppolo. With Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson off the market, Garoppolo suddenly becomes a desirable option for an organization desperate for a starting quarterback. Additionally, the Washington Commanders acquired Carson Wentz from the Colts, adding Indianapolis to quarterback-needy teams.

Rapoport reported "significant interest" from the Colts, so that becomes a possible destination for Garoppolo—depending on the price. It might make sense for a team to wait if it feels that price may drop.

"I have to believe that's part of the equation here," Barrows added. "A smart team, looking at the situation, will say, 'Hey, let's just kind of string them along until Monday and Tuesday, and see if we can't get them to agree to a more favorable deal for us."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Barrows below.

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