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Fowler: The Colts never had “substantive” talks about Jimmy Garoppolo

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler also said that behind the scenes Lance has been reassured he’ll start in 2022

Indianapolis Colts v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler wrote an article that had reactions from executives around the NFL responding to the moves made during free agency. It’s a great piece that has plenty of interesting nuggets.

According to Fowler, the Colts never had “substantive” talks with the 49ers about inquiring Jimmy Garoppolo:

I’m told that Indy didn’t have substantive talks with the Browns on Baker Mayfield or the 49ers on Jimmy Garoppolo in its quarterback search. In fact, the Colts heavily weighed the free-agent option, knowing they wouldn’t have to relinquish a draft pick to get a starter.

Indianapolis spent time researching Jameis Winston, making phone calls to people close to him to get a feel for how he’d fit.

That tells you all you need to know about Garoppolo and Mayfield’s market if a team with playoff aspirations like the Colts is unwilling to part with any draft pick and instead focus on a quarterback coming off a season-ending injury in Winston.

It can be true that Indianapolis made an offer for Garoppolo, but the word “substantive” matters. The Colts were likely unwilling to part ways with a premium draft pick for Jimmy G. Fowler would say that Indy had leverage against Atlanta due to their cap situation, which is why they send a third-round pick.

I wonder how much of last season’s game played a part in the Colts’ decision to pass on Garoppolo. The weather was far from ideal, but Garoppolo threw two interceptions in arguably his worst game of the season as Carson Wentz outplayed him on national TV. Those games are tough to shake from your memory in an NFL decision-makers' mind.

In the 49ers section, Fowler said the 49ers aren’t in a major rush to move Garoppolo:

I talked to a source who said the 49ers aren’t in a major rush to move quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The 49ers budgeted for this offseason knowing they could carry Garoppolo’s $26 million cap hit and still do what’s necessary in free agency and the draft from a cash standpoint.

Garoppolo’s market appears to be slow right now. Teams I’ve talked to have legitimate concern about the shoulder surgery and what that might mean for his offseason and the 2022 campaign. Trey Lance has gotten the full impression behind the scenes that he will start in 2022. So while the expectation is San Francisco will move Garoppolo eventually, it feels like the team is in a holding pattern on that.

Fans aren’t going to be happy with the first paragraph. The 49ers accomplished what they needed to during free agency since they were short on funds.

With Garoppolo off the books, we’re not talking about holes at safety or along the offensive line. Instead of signing Kerry Hyder on a minimum contract, that could be for a higher-tiered pass rusher who was available on the market.

You’ll never have to apologize for signing good players. Those are the contracts worth handing out. Unfortunately, Jimmy’s contract has handcuffed San Francisco — in more ways than one.

Now, we wait. When will there be a market for Garoppolo if there wasn’t one during free agency? The 49ers don’t have to panic, but it’s a question they’ll have to ask.