Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Should QB Jimmy Garoppolo play another snap for the 49ers?

Rohan Chakravarthi
May 17, 2022 at 2:00 PM--

The 2022 NFL Draft has come and gone, but San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the roster as he rehabs from a shoulder injury that required surgery in early March.

For the past year, it has seemed apparent that the organization would move on from its veteran quarterback, as the 49ers were involved in talks with a number of free-agent quarterbacks last offseason, most notably Andy Dalton, and were also in the Matthew Stafford sweepstakes before the Rams ultimately traded for the longtime Lion.

Eventually, the 49ers moved forward with a pre-draft trade, moving three first-rounders and a third-rounder in exchange for the third overall selection, which the team ultimately used on Trey Lance, who started two games in 2021.

Garoppolo is scheduled to count $26.95 million against the cap in 2022. However, his $24.2 million salary for 2022 is non-guaranteed, meaning the 49ers can save $25.5 million against the cap (Garoppolo's $24.2 million base salary + $750,000 roster bonus + $600,000 workout bonus) should they cut the veteran quarterback prior to Week 1.

With the amount of possible savings, should Garoppolo play another snap for the 49ers?

Earlier this week, NBC Sports's Matt Maiocco highlighted a risky scenario involving Garoppolo where the 49ers would be on the hook for the entirety of Garoppolo's salary in 2022 if he injured himself in summer workouts.

"The 49ers run the risk of being on the hook for Garoppolo's entire $24.2 million non-guaranteed salary if he were to sustain a season-ending injury during summer workouts," Maiocco wrote. "Training camp is scheduled to open in late-July."

The timeline involving Garoppolo is currently uncertain, so he may not even be cleared to practice until the preseason, but in the case that he is healthy, should the 49ers run that risk?

The answer is a definitive no. Unless, of course, there are clear indications in training camp that Trey Lance has regressed to the point that the second-year quarterback is unplayable. That seems pretty unlikely given the marked improvement from the quarterback between his first start in Week 5 last season, and his second start in Week 17.

Garoppolo is a seasoned veteran and has been through the offseason practice exercise for four consecutive seasons. He doesn't need the practice reps.

In fact, it would be in the 49ers' best interest to provide Trey Lance with as many reps as possible during this offseason as it would give them the clearest picture of whether the North Dakota State product is ready to be a starter. It would also provide them the most amount of time possible to make a decision on Garoppolo without running the risk of injury, which would end up making the decision for them.

Lance's own teammates have been raving about his development. However, tight end George Kittle admitted that the only way for Lance to consistently improve is by getting as many reps as possible, which would only be hindered by Garoppolo's presence on the practice field.

Additionally, the 49ers should sit Garoppolo to provide Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy more reps, allowing the team to gather enough information about which quarterback would be a suitable backup to Trey Lance in 2022.

The 49ers invested in Sudfeld this offseason, guaranteeing him a $2 million salary as opposed to the $252,000 salary he earned last season, which is equivalent to the salary of a practice squad player.

In reality, there currently aren't any tangible benefits to Garoppolo practicing once cleared. It would take away reps from the current quarterbacks, whom the 49ers have invested in, and poses the risk of injury, which takes away the very flexibility and leverage that the 49ers have held this entire offseason when attempting to move the veteran quarterback. Eating a $26.95 million cap hit without anything in return would just be bad business.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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