Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers keeping Jimmy Garoppolo while starting Trey Lance wouldn’t surprise Peter King

May 17, 2022 at 12:46 PM--

Will the San Francisco 49ers be able to offload quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to another team? They've certainly expressed a desire to do so. However, Garoppolo remains on the roster after undergoing shoulder surgery on March 8, which sent his stock tumbling. No one seems eager to trade for an injured quarterback who can't throw until late next month, at the earliest.

The 49ers have repeatedly stated they are willing to hold onto Garoppolo and his hefty salary if they can't trade him. They aren't going to give him away for free by releasing him. That might mean a team like the division rival Seattle Seahawks scooping him up. Garoppolo is undoubtedly an upgrade over anyone currently in place for the spiraling Seahawks. San Francisco is unlikely to do their NFC West nemesis any favors.

While many are quick to dismiss the 49ers' narrative that they are willing to keep Garoppolo through the 2022 season, Peter King of NBC Sports believes them. He feels Garoppolo remaining on the roster is a legitimate possibility.

King acknowledges that Garoppolo remaining on the roster likely has more to do with no one wanting him after his surgery than in the 49ers' confidence (or potential lack thereof) in second-year quarterback Trey Lance to be the starter.

"You can say whatever you want about Jimmy Garoppolo and how they carried him, he struggled, whatever," King told Colin Cowherd on The Herd. "All I know is that Jimmy Garoppolo and that defense played well enough at Green Bay on a blisteringly cold night ... and they knocked Aaron Rodgers and the Packers out of the playoffs.

"You can [ask], 'What plays did Jimmy Garoppolo make in that game?' The point is that sometimes you need your quarterback to not lose the game. And last year, Jimmy Garoppolo, on several very big occasions, piloted the team, did well enough, and didn't lose the game, and they went on.

"And that's why, to me, unless somebody gives San Francisco a decent offer, I will not be surprised if they do the same thing this year (keeping Garoppolo) with one exception: I do think that unless he is simply not ready to play, I do think the starter opening day will be Trey Lance."

Starting Lance over Garoppolo when both are on the roster might be tough for the 49ers to swallow, and it could create some challenging situations. For one, you'd have your backup quarterback earning nearly 11 times the base salary of your starter and almost three-and-a-half times the salary-cap hit.

Then, there is the awkwardness of Lance having to look over his shoulder. What if the young quarterback struggles early? The 49ers roster is built to win now. Would any growing pains, which are natural with a young player, make teammates question the decision not to play Garoppolo?

Next, would the 49ers even want to have Garoppolo throw in training camp or play during the preseason? If he is injured, the team's options vanish, and it is stuck paying him.

Lastly, if Garoppolo remains, he becomes a free agent after the season, and all the 49ers might receive in return for the quarterback is a compensatory pick in 2024.

It's certainly an interesting debate. What do you think the likelihood is of Garoppolo remaining with the 49ers through the 2022 season? Leave a comment below.

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