SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is still a member of the San Francisco 49ers by contract, and somehow the teams have remained friendly during an offseason when they were due to split in March.
Up to this point, neither the Niners nor Garoppolo were in any hurry to find a solution, largely because Garoppolo’s right shoulder surgery scuppered commercial plans for the early offseason. But Garoppolo and the Niners are increasingly nervous about parting ways with a 53-man roster deadline looming on August 30. Creating the first roster would guarantee his salary against the cap.
“I think everyone does it [want to find an answer]’ said coach Kyle Shanahan. “I think he handled it great but it’s the reality of this business. It’s the reality of everything. Sometimes you have to wait for things and I think he understands that. You always wish it could be different, but that’s business and he understands that.”
Garoppolo reported to the start of training camp on Tuesday and passed his physical, which got the Niners off the hook for the $7.5 million injury guarantee in his contract. He doesn’t train with the team, instead participating in a detailed throwing program designed to be ready when he lands elsewhere.
Garoppolo has permission to enter and exit the team facility as he pleases. He mostly does his rehab and throwing routine and then heads out for the day. He was spotted in the team’s weight room on the opening day of camp and was spotted running and conditioning on an ancillary field, but didn’t stay for practice or attend meetings.
“Jimmy is training hard and throwing the devil off the ball,” Shanahan said. “I’m not going to tell you everything in my head, but you can find out when I say that we have to do the right thing for this organization. And we’re going to do everything we can to make it as good as possible for Jimmy while always doing what’s right for this organization.”
With Deebo Samuel’s contract finalized, all eyes are now on Garoppolo’s situation. Here’s what we know and what’s next:
Why does a trade take so long?
The combination of shoulder surgery and the plethora of better, healthier quarterbacks available in the offseason has made it difficult for the 49ers to close a trade. Early interest faded when Garoppolo opted for surgery in March, and by the time he started throwing in late June, most open quarterback spots were full.
Despite speculation that the Niners were keeping Garoppolo due to doubts about sophomore quarterback Trey Lance, Shanahan made it clear that wasn’t the case by stating Lance said the day the team went to camp reported, took over as the No. 1 quarterback.
Will Garoppolo play in the 49ers preseason games?
There’s little reason to believe Garoppolo will train or play for the Niners again. Shanahan said so, and there are financial ramifications if Garoppolo suffers another injury. He is scheduled to count $26.9 million towards the 2022 salary cap with a base salary of $24.2 million. However, none of these funds are guaranteed.
But Garoppolo’s salary could be guaranteed if he injures himself again, which is why Shanahan shot down most scenarios of him playing again for the 49ers.
“I’m giving absolutely nothing, so yeah, I’m sure I could make that scenario up,” Shanahan said. “But I think I said earlier that that would surprise me, and I still feel that way.”
What are possible landing sites?
The list of opportunities has shrunk significantly during the offseason, culminating in Baker Mayfield’s move from the Cleveland Browns to the Carolina Panthers.
Coincidentally, the most likely remaining landing spot appears to be Cleveland, although that will depend on a potential suspension — and the length of that potential suspension — for quarterback Deshaun Watson. The Browns would offer Garoppolo an opportunity to join a competitor and rehabilitate his value while giving the Browns a proven option.
The Seattle Seahawks could also be an option, although their spot in the NFC West makes a deal complicated. But there is precedent, cited by Shanahan, for a quarterback trade within a division. While in Washington, Kyle and Mike Shanahan struck a deal with Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb. Such deals can be harder to pull off, but they’re not impossible.
Other teams that may be interested in Garoppolo at a reduced price (both commercially and financially) include the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons, New York Giants and Houston Texans.
“We’re not trying to pretend or play any game,” Shanahan said. “I think the whole league understands that. But you can’t just give up one of the better quarterbacks in the league just to have him available to the world for no reason.”
The notion that the 49ers would have to eat up a chunk of his salary like the Panthers did to Mayfield doesn’t hold much water since Mayfield’s salary was guaranteed while none of Garoppolo’s salary was guaranteed. However, it makes sense that if a trade were made, Garoppolo would revise his deal to give him a chance to get guaranteed money, which he currently doesn’t have.
Will the Niners eventually release Garoppolo?
Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have insisted they won’t be giving up Garoppolo for nothing. But this has dragged on for so long that a deadline is now looming on the horizon. Barring an injury, the only other way to guarantee Garoppolo’s salary in 2022 is if he field the first 53-man squad on August 30.
If a trade hasn’t materialized by then, it’s hard to imagine the 49ers holding Garoppolo at such a high guaranteed salary.
For his part, Garoppolo has so far avoided requesting his release, but the longer he waits to join a new team, the less chance he’ll get a job or be ready to play at his next destination.
https://www.espn.com/blog/san-francisco-49ers/post/_/id/41257/what-we-know-about-jimmy-garoppolos-situation-with-the-san-francisco-49ers What we know about Jimmy Garoppolo’s situation with the San Francisco 49ers – San Francisco 49ers Blog