Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Beat writer calls idea of 49ers keeping Jimmy Garoppolo ‘absurd’

May 19, 2022 at 7:45 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers insist that holding onto Jimmy Garoppolo this season is possible. The team has unsuccessfully tried to trade the veteran quarterback without success. Of course, Garoppolo undergoing shoulder surgery on March 8 didn't help matters.

One 49ers beat writer, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, doesn't believe the team can realistically hold onto Garoppolo and his hefty $24.2 million base salary. After all, last year's No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance, is expected to be the starting quarterback in 2022. Devoting a hefty chunk of this year's salary cap to a backup doesn't seem financially responsible.

This is assuming that Lance remains on track to be the 49ers' starter.

"If the 49ers do not view Garoppolo as the starter, it seems absurd they would keep him on their roster when they could redirect his team-high salary to such players as Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa," wrote Maiocco.

The NBC Sports Bay Area reporter believes the 49ers being unwilling to allow Garoppolo to enter into a quarterback competition could prompt the veteran quarterback to ask for his release. Remember, if Garoppolo gets injured during training camp or the preseason, his entire 2022 salary becomes guaranteed, and the 49ers are out of options.

"Garoppolo would be well within his rights to ask for his release sooner than later in order to provide him with the best opportunity to land with a team that gives him a better chance at a future beyond the upcoming season," Maiocco added.

From the 49ers' perspective, and probably Garoppolo's, the ideal scenario is trading the quarterback before training camp. However, aside from the salary-cap relief his departure would create, the 49ers believe they have no reason to be impulsive. In fact, getting rid of the quarterback too early could come back to bite them.

The team would prefer receiving something in return for the 30-year-old and having a say in where he lands next. A scenario where Garoppolo is released and then signs with the quarterback-needy Seattle Seahawks, a division rival, would not be ideal. Whatever you think about Garoppolo as a player, he is probably better than any of the Seahawks' current quarterbacks.

There is another possibility, though—one that Garoppolo is probably hoping to avoid. During a recent interview on The Rich Eisen Show, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk laid out that possibility.

"From Garoppolo's perspective, the worst-case scenario would be [Garoppolo and Lance] show up for camp, they compete, Lance emerges as the starter," Florio told Eisen. "Lance steps up. Lance is ready to go."

"And then [the 49ers] go to Jimmy Garoppolo after the preseason and say, 'Hey Jimmy, Lance is number one. You're number two. We can't pay number two $25 million. So here's what we're going to do. We're going to pay you $10 million to be the backup, and maybe we'll put some incentives in there, playing time or whatever, so you can earn some of it back if you end up playing more, if [Lance] gets injured or whatever. But you're the backup. You've got to accept this deal. And if not, you're going to get cut.'

"He's got no guarantees until he's on the roster for Week 1. And what do you do then? All the spots are taken [around the league]. All the depth charts are filled."

Florio adds that Garoppolo landing elsewhere before things get to that point is in his best interest. However, if there is a quarterback competition and should Garoppolo lose the battle, his options may be gone.

While that scenario has the potential to work in the 49ers' favor, they still run the risk of Garoppolo balking at the proposed salary reduction, having to release him, and watching him still sign with a team like the Seahawks.

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