The recent Deebo Samuel news has been a nice change of pace from the nonstop Jimmy Garoppolo “when will he be traded” talk. Mike Sando of The Athletic reached out to NFL executives around the league to get their opinions, both good and bad, of each teams’ moves and strategies during free agency.
One exec suggested that Jimmy has value: “I’d just hold onto him. Wait. Someone will get desperate. I’d even keep him through the season. Why get rid of a guy just to get rid of him to play the other guy (Trey Lance) if you know Jimmy has value? And Jimmy has value.”
“The other guy” is a quarterback that you mortgaged your future for. You can make an argument for keeping Garoppolo but ignoring the investment the 49ers have in Lance is silly.
Another executive told Sando he was happy his team went in a different direction this offseason instead of landing Garoppolo:
“I’ve got no issue with what we did because it’s better than drafting one of these guys, and it’s better than waiting on Garoppolo, because if you are waiting on Garoppolo, it’s not like you are waiting on Drew Brees and his labrum,” this exec said. “You are waiting on Garoppolo, who is happy throwing it less than 20 times in big games.”
I wonder how much the rest of the NFL agrees with the last jab there from the exec. The 49ers have won ten games when Garoppolo has thrown the ball fewer than 25 times during the past three seasons.
So, for as much as fans throw out Jimmy’s win-loss record, it ignores the Week 10 from 2021 games when Garoppolo went 15-for-19 for 182 yards when the team dismantled the Rams 31-10.
The final executive hinted at the Niners paying some of Garoppolo’s salary to make him more attractive to other teams:
“The answer is holding onto Jimmy and hoping someone doesn’t draft someone, or there is an injury, but at $24 million, no one is going to have the ability to carry that anyway,” another exec said. “The question for the 49ers is, would you pay Jimmy a bunch of it now and try to make him more palatable? If you are Jimmy and the money is unguaranteed, how much would you take from the 49ers as a guarantee knowing you may get stuck there, and they can control your destination? Both sides have risk.”
In theory, paying a portion of Garoppolo’s salary makes sense if you’re going to eventually move him — especially if the plan is to wait for a desperate team to come calling.
The issue is cap space. Over the Cap has the 49ers at $1.7 million in team cap space. The Niners would need to extend or restructure a few contracts to pay Jimmy temporarily, only to trade him in the coming months. You’d have a tough time convincing your boss that this move makes financial sense from the business side.