So, Friday was a slow news day, huh? At least we’re past the point of discussing backup quarterbacks. Now, we turn our attention to the rookie class.
Garoppolo has reason to be extremely disappointed in the happenings of Friday. He has every right to feel abandoned.
But the best thing he can do for his career is to remain engaged, fight to keep his starting job as long as possible, and have the kind of season that makes him even more attractive to teams around the league for the future.
At the same time, the 49ers should continue through this offseason with a price in mind for what it would take for them to trade Garoppolo and turn over the most-important position on their team to a rookie.
The 49ers might be thinking that Garoppolo will be their starting quarterback right now, but we all know how quickly things can change.
If the 49ers were to trade Garoppolo before the season, the cap savings of $23.6 million on his contract can roll over to the future. That money could be used on possible extensions for Fred Warner, Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel and Mike McGlinchey.
3. Jimmy Garoppolo is on the clock
As a follow-up to breaking trade news, Schefter noted via a 49ers source that Garoppolo is still San Francisco’s “guy” this year. It wouldn’t be outside the realm of possibility to see the 49ers use their former franchise quarterback as a bridge quarterback, but with a few teams still desperate for veteran upgrades, they’d be missing out on a precious opportunity to mitigate some of the draft capital losses they just sustained. I think we’re all looking at his former team here, as the Patriots have Cam Newton on the roster making less than some quality backups. Garoppolo has maintained a good relationship with his first head coach and former offensive coordinator, neither of whom seemed totally interested in dealing him in the first place.
Of course, San Francisco reiterating confidence in Garoppolo now could just be theater. The 49ers know there is a veteran carousel still spinning and they would like to net something as good, if not better than their original second-round pick investment for Jimmy G in 2017.
“You’re not going to have a $25 million backup. To me if it’s even close between the new guy coming in and Jimmy Garoppolo, you move on from him. You can do that right up until the first game of the season. You can wait that long and then you trade him, and then if you have Gardner Minshew or somebody else that you’re comfortable with as a backup, you can cut him. To me, you don’t pay Jimmy Garoppolo that money this year if you’ve already decided he has no future with the organization, and it has nothing to do with this year as far as the cap.
“And I don’t believe for a minute that they’ve decided they are not trading Jimmy Garoppolo. That would be ridiculous to think that. But I can see where they would put that out there publicly. And say, ‘Oh no, we love him, we think he’s a great quarterback. We think he’s so great, in fact, that you should give us two first-round draft picks for him.’”
Still, if he stays, this is a win for Garoppolo. It’s the shot he assuredly wants. To perform in this setup would be the best answer for his critics until he’s in position to redeem the Super Bowl conclusion. He’d have the receivers with a healthy George Kittle, a Brandon Aiyuk with experience under his belt, a Deebo Samuel who has emerged as a go-to, and maybe even, finally, a big target in Jalen Hurd. He’d still have the running game with Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson, and his beloved fullback Kyle Juszczyk.
If it wasn’t already plain that San Francisco’s move is motivated by a desire to find a franchise quarterback in the draft, it became clear when general manager John Lynch—speaking Friday from Wilson’s pro day at BYU—gave his assurances that the trade is not an indictment of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and that Garoppolo is still in the team’s plans. Promising your current quarterback that he’s “still in your plans” after trading into the top three of a QB-heavy draft is the NFL equivalent of saying you’ll go out for “just one drink” or you’ll “start working out on Monday”—it rarely goes the way you say it will. Garoppolo has a no-trade clause in his contract that could at least give him some control over where he goes if the 49ers entertain offers. He’d likely want to go somewhere like Chicago or, yes, back to New England, where he’d have an opportunity to start.