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Two teams can absorb Jimmy Garoppolo’s contract without any cap maneuvering

Both teams will need a quarterback in 2022

NFL: OCT 07 Browns at 49ers Photo by Ric Tapia/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

We’re a month away from the 49ers beginning training camp, and all eyes will be on Trey Lance as we dissect every throw.

Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t expected to set foot on the practice field once training camp starts. July is meaningful as Jimmy should be fully recovered from offseason shoulder surgery and prove to other teams he’s healthy enough so they can acquire him.

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer wrote Monday morning that the money part of Garoppolo’s saga bears watching:

A real sign that he’s past it changes that dynamic and leaves one more major factor: money.

Garoppolo is due $24.6 million this year. The Niners, I’ve been told repeatedly, are willing to let other teams talk to him about renegotiating the contract—and that’s necessary now, because just two teams (the Browns and Panthers, interestingly) could absorb that lump-sum without any sort of cap maneuvering.

Meanwhile, San Francisco is extremely tight to the cap, with both Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel needing deals. So when Garoppolo’s healthy, which should be soon, will he be willing to work with another team to lower his number (his salary doesn’t become guaranteed until Week 1, which means the Niners can cut him without penalty before then) to get the chance to start somewhere else? Or will he try to leverage his release, which would likely mean losing money, but getting to pick his destination?

Breer believes the start of San Francisco’s training camp is the next soft deadline for the Niners and Garoppolo.

There aren’t many teams that need a quarterback. But Carolina and Cleveland are at the top of the list for different reasons. The Panthers have been linked to Baker Mayfield, while the Browns may be without Deshaun Watson for the 2022 season.

Watson will meet with a third-party arbitrator this week. That could be the first step in what could determine how long he’s suspended. The Browns are loaded with talent and are unlikely to enter the season with Jacoby Brissett as their quarterback.

Per Over the Cap, Cleveland has $42 million in cap space. So they could take on Jimmy’s salary in 2022 without having to jump through multiple hoops. Ideally, if it does get to that point, the 49ers would receive draft compensation and not have to release Garoppolo. And knowing Cleveland’s hands are tied, the Niners should get a better pick than they initially hoped.