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Oh, Hey There! Will the 49ers have to pay to trade Jimmy Garoppolo?

It’s not out of the question...

While all signs point to the 49ers having turned the page to Trey Lance as the starting quarterback, the question of how Jimmy Garoppolo’s time with the team will end has yet to be answered. In today’s Oh, Hey There! podcast, Javier Vega and Leo Luna wondered if the Niners would pay to trade Garoppolo rather than simply cut him loose.

In his MMQB column yesterday, Albert Breer threw in this tidbit about Garoppolo and his contract.

“The door’s been open for Jimmy Garoppolo and his camp to discuss possible contact adjustments with other teams to facilitate a trade. It’ll be interesting to see how the financials, with Garoppolo due a non-guaranteed $24.6 million in 2022 (and none of it coming until Week 1), paint the picture here once Garoppolo’s healthy enough to throw.”

As usual, it all goes back to money. Garoppolo on a rookie contract is great value. Garoppolo at his current number, not as much - especially if you’ve also got to give up draft picks to acquire him. Would it be worth it for the 49ers to trade Garoppolo and pay some of his salary to improve the return?

“At what point do you draw the line at his contract? $24.6 million is a lot of money for a team who is probably likely in transition and just needs a stopgap quarterback. Do you want to spend all of that $24.6 million on a guy like Jimmy Garoppolo? Likely not, right? If a team is willing to say, ‘Listen, we’ll pay him $10 million this year,’ that means the Niners have to pay the other $14 million. Would [the 49ers] do that for a fifth round pick? I don’t know, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. I think the pick would have to be a third or a late two to even make that make sense for the 49ers. You’re still having to pay $14 million and you’re only going to get a fourth or fifth rounder? I think that pick would have to be much higher. I think you’re looking at something where it’s got to be in the third round, maybe a late two for a team that’s kind of on the cusp but kind of just needs a little bit of leadership, or direction, or stability for a head coach who is in limbo.”

Think of it like buying discount points on a mortgage. Sure, you pay more at closing, but ultimately you save far more money in the long run.

It definitely would be nice to add another second-round pick to the draft cupboard, especially with 2023’s first-rounder going to Miami for the final time, thanks to the Trey Lance deal. Then again, this regime has done remarkably well with Day 3 draft picks. Would they be content to take what they could get for Garoppolo and bank on their scouting department’s ability to find diamonds in the rough?

However, the answer may come down to more than just a simple analysis of pennies against picks. There’s also the PR element to consider. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have been telling other teams and the media for years now how much they value Jimmy Garoppolo and how they won’t trade him just to trade him.

Lynch and Shanahan are going to have egg on their faces if they just pawn Jimmy off for a fifth-round pick during training camp. They look a lot better if Garoppolo brings back a third or second-round pick, even if San Francisco has to throw in a few coins of the realm to make that happen.

We won’t know how the story ends for another month or so, but it will be interesting to see what ultimately ends up happening. No matter what happens, we’ll finally have the answers to questions about Garoppolo’s true value to both other NFL teams and to the 49ers themselves.