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Breer on Garoppolo: I don’t believe the plan right now is to keep him

Will the 49ers patience pay off?

Pittsburgh Steelers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

OTAs begin Monday for the 49ers, but don’t expect some of the more prominent players such as Deebo Samuel and Jimmy Garoppolo to attend, albeit for different reasons. Samuel is looking for a new contract while Garoppolo’s shoulder heals from offseason surgery.

Everyone wants to know what’s the next part of the Jimmy Garoppolo saga with the 49ers. Some want to see the answer today, while others are over it and couldn’t care less what happens until there is a result.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer discussed what he believes will happen next for both sides in his MMQB:

The 49ers are in this picture, too—and while they’ve played patient throughout on Jimmy Garoppolo, I don’t believe the plan right now is to keep him. San Francisco, for what it’s worth, has had an open line of communication with Garoppolo’s camp the last few months, and both sides are willing to be flexible to find the best situation for the 30-year-old who’s led the Niners to two NFC title games over the last three years. And that means, if a team’s out there wanting to renegotiate the final year of his contract, which has $24.8 million on it (and is not guaranteed), as part of a trade, the opportunity’s there to do it, and other teams know it.

The hope here, of course, is that where the Niners’ deliberate slow play in March didn’t really work out, after the quarterback’s delayed decision to have rotator cuff surgery (they hoped resolution of the Watson, Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers situations would open up a market for Garoppolo); a similar tact could work here with Garoppolo’s shoulder on the mend (presumably, he could throw for a team in early July to show his progress), and there’s potential for latecomers to the quarterback trade table. We’ll see if it works out.

So, nothing new and a lot of “hope” involved. But, when quarterbacks the caliber of Watson and Wilson are moved in the same offseason as Garoppolo, that was never going to bode well for Jimmy. He’s in a different aisle when you go shopping for quarterbacks. The price tag, even if healthy, wasn’t going to be what the Niners wanted.

What if Garoppolo throws for a team, and they’re not impressed? There’s always that potential outcome — especially for a player fresh off rehab. Unfortunately, it feels like every button the 49ers have pressed during the Jimmy operation has been the wrong one.

Let’s flip the script and say Garoppolo’s shoulder is fully healthy, and he’s ready to throw for a team. Which teams would come calling? Who could use a bridge quarterback? And as you’re thinking about potential teams, remember, money shouldn’t be an issue as teams can re-negotiate Garoppolo’s contract to fit under the salary cap.

The Steelers drafted a first-round QB and signed Mitchell Trubisky, so we can cross them off. The Miami Dolphins would have been an ideal fit, but they have Teddy Bridgewater backing up Tua Tagovailoa.

As you go down the list of teams, Garoppolo serving as a placeholder for the lowly Panthers or Seahawks doesn’t make much sense for those teams as they would win just enough under Garoppolo to miss out on a top draft pick but not enough to make the playoffs. That’s how I see the season playing out, making it more and more difficult to see a team offering substantial compensation for Jimmy G.

Injury. Ironically, an injury to another team is how you could see a team come calling. Another angle would be if a young quarterback were unimpressive throughout the summer and training camp. Let’s say the Texans don’t see Davis Mills take a step in Year 2. Without having much financial commitment to him, the front office that drafted Garoppolo could once again be interested in his services.

Nothing about Jimmy’s situation has been simple, and it’s unlikely it ends that way.