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Mark it Down: Jimmy Garoppolo will not be on the 49ers roster Week 1

Brian Renick
Jul 18, 2022 at 12:20 PM

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What the San Francisco 49ers do with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has been the dominant storyline surrounding the team since their heartbreaking loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.

Talking heads have recognized that one of the easiest ways to boost engagement is to talk about the 49ers' quarterback situation, and they have done so ad nauseum. The situation has also seemingly divided much of the fan base as well. There are those who believe Garoppolo should still be the 49ers starting QB in 2022 and those who are ready for second-year quarterback Trey Lance to take over.

This writer is firmly in the latter camp, and I believe that the 49ers organization is as well.

The current dilemma for the team is a lack of any real viable trade partners (at the moment) for the embattled QB. Both general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have been on record that they want to receive something for Garoppolo, and that outright cutting him once he is able to pass a physical after off-season shoulder surgery is not on the table.

I don't believe for a second that cutting Jimmy Garoppolo is not an option for this team. Let's explore the reasons why.

Lack of Viable Trade Partners

Once the Carolina Panthers swung a trade with the Cleveland Browns for former first overall pick Baker Mayfield, the only team left without a viable option for a starting quarterback is the Seattle Seahawks—unless you, and the Seahawks organization, are of the belief that Drew Lock and/or Geno Smith are viable options. I am not.

The other popular destination that has been thrown out for Garoppolo is the Cleveland Browns. The Browns' current starter, Deshaun Watson, is still embroiled in controversy surrounding a litany of sexual assualt allegations by dozens of massage therapists and is facing a suspension by the NFL. Knowing the length of that suspension is going to be the determining factor in whether Cleveland would even consider trading for the 49ers QB.

That's a complicated issue itself.

The NFL is seeking a full-season suspension for Watson and is currently awaiting the ruling of independent arbitrator Judge Sue L. Robinson. Reports came out today, July 18, that Watson and the NFL Players Association have already decided to challenge a year-long suspension in Federal court if that is the punishment imposed.

The Browns aren't going to trade for Garoppolo if the Watson suspension isn't lengthy in nature. They currently have Jacoby Brissett on the roster and can likely stay competitive if the suspension is six games or less.

However, it has also been reported that the Browns will pursue a trade for a backup to Brissett if Watson receives a "lengthy" suspension. That would seem to eliminate any thought of a Garoppolo trade.

Unless the front office is hoping for another team's starter to go down with a serious injury in camp, there doesn't seem to be a path for a trade.


This might be the single biggest factor in this entire situation. Jimmy Garoppolo's current contract has a base salary of $24.2 million for the 2022 season, but none of that is guaranteed except for injury. If Garoppolo passed a physical and the 49ers cut him today, they would only be responsible for the $1.4 million of signing bonus still remaining. However, that $24.2 million does become guaranteed if he is on the roster Week 1 of the regular season, or if he gets injured in camp or during the preseason.

Spending $24.2 million for a backup quarterback (or an injured quarterback) seems like a pretty terrible business decision.

Also, the Baker Mayfield trade not only took a potential suitor off the table for the 49ers, it really hampered any potential return in a Garoppolo trade as well. The Panthers sent a conditional 2024 fifth-round pick (which can turn into a fourth-round pick if Mayfield plays 70% of the snaps for Carolina in 2022) and got the Browns to pay $10.5 million of his 2022 salary.

Essentially, the Browns paid $10.5 million for a 2024 fourth or fifth-round pick. Now, the situations aren't exactly the same because Mayfield's salary for 2022 was fully guaranteed, whereas Garoppolo's is not, but the trade parameters are such that it should be expected the 49ers would have to pay a portion of Garoppolo's salary in order to receive any meaningful compensation in return.

Is it really worth it to spend $10-15 million to buy a Day 3 draft pick?

If I were the GM, my answer would be no, especially considering the team can net $24.2 million in cap space immediately by simply cutting Garoppolo, and any unused cap space rolls over to the following season. With the team currently trying to lock up two young superstars to long-term extensions in wide receiver Deebo Samuel and defensive end Nick Bosa, cap space is far more important than a mid or late-round draft pick.

The Team Needs to Commit to Trey Lance

Is Trey Lance "ready" to take over the starting duties for the 49ers? That is a loaded question because what does "ready" really mean? Lance showed some real promise in his late-season start against the Houston Texans. He posted the best stats for any rookie QB that faced the Texans defense in 2022 with a 116.0 passer rating. For reference, Trevor Lawrence posted ratings of 70.1 and 73.4, Mac Jones 95.3, and Zach Wilson a miserable 58.5.

However, regardless of whether you feel that Lance is "ready" or not, the team invested significant resources to bring the North Dakota State QB to Santa Clara and it's time now to see whether they made the right decision or not.

Keeping Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster severely hampers Lance's ability to take over as the starter. Garoppolo is immensely popular in the locker room and among the fan base, and when Lance experiences the inevitable growing pains this coming season, the calls to put Garoppolo in will likely get pretty loud.

Kyle Shanahan saw something in Lance that he wanted for his offense. It's time to start putting it all together and hopefully take the offense to the next level.

Jimmy Garoppolo brought a lot to the 49ers organization and it is my hope that his tenure will be regarded fondly as time passes. However, his time with the team has ended, and the Trey Lance era has arrived.

Mark it down: Jimmy Garoppolo will not be on the 49ers roster Week 1.
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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  • Long Time 49er
    PJNiner makes sense. Someone's QB is going to get hurt. The Steelers will figure Trubisky and Picket are not yet starters, or the Browns will realize that Brissett won't get the job done. I'm not concerned or excited about any draft pick the Niners will get for JG. Clearing cap makes the deal for the 49ers.
    Jul 19, 2022 at 8:05 PM
  • PJNiner
    NY, Pittsburgh, Atlanta and most likely Cleveland all will need a starting QB, whether or not they know it or not yet. Someone will end up giving up a 3rd or 4th rounder for Jimmy and he will agree to renegotiate his final year salary so he can become a starter. Shortly after Deebo will be extended. Then Niners may even pick up JC Tretter.
    Jul 19, 2022 at 8:53 AM
  • Arthur
    What needs to be done is a contract renegotiation to keep Jimmy because Lance is injury prone and if Jimmy is gone we will not have a good QB to take over!!!
    Jul 19, 2022 at 7:24 AM
  • Scott's Bennett
    Maybe not, but we have heard the same nonsense for 3 years. Now yuh know where ding dongs like DJT came up with the saying Fake news.
    Jul 18, 2022 at 8:47 PM
  • Joe Cool
    Qb1 will most likely miss an entire season. Qb2 had run of the mill surgery, won't miss any time. I wonder why a team traded the farm for one of them? Jimmy G sucks.
    Jul 18, 2022 at 5:43 PM
  • Sammy Moore Jr
    The persistent word from Niner management is that they want something in trade for Jimmy G. After all that has transpired - and especially has NOT transpired, i.e., some team making any kind of offer or shown interest in Jimmy G highlights the reality of this situation. Jimmy G will have to be cut. Personally I wish they could have traded him - everyone would come away from a trade looking good. Cutting him every one looks bad.
    Jul 18, 2022 at 12:48 PM


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