After months of speculation, the San Francisco 49ers have managed to give themselves the best of both worlds.
It was widely presumed they would turn the offense over the second-year quarterback Trey Lance, which led to massive speculation that incumbent starting QB Jimmy Garoppolo would be traded or perhaps released.
Instead, he is staying on for this season as Lance’s backup, as the team restructured his contract.
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers agreed to a restructured one-year contract that will keep the QB in San Francisco this season, per sources. The contract contains no-trade and no-tag clauses, assuring Garoppolo will remain in SF this season and have the freedom to leave in 2023. pic.twitter.com/2tj0dDGgN9
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 29, 2022
If Garoppolo had been released, there surely would’ve been at least one suitor for his services, as he’s an accomplished QB who would represent an upgrade for at least a handful of NFL teams.
One team that was rumored to be interested in acquiring him was the Seattle Seahawks, a squad that won’t have star signal-caller Russell Wilson for the first time since 2011.
According to a former executive, the Niners were concerned the Seahawks would snag Garoppolo and perhaps be a bigger threat to them within the NFC West.
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) August 30, 2022
“Seattle wanted him, and San Francisco knew it,” former NFL executive Michael Lombardi said on the “Pat McAfee Show” Tuesday morning. “There was no trade market out there. Cleveland was never interested in him. Seattle was never interested in Baker Mayfield, but they were interested in Jimmy. I know that the 49ers were worried about cutting Jimmy and having him go to Seattle.”
Sometimes, teams make moves that are more about their literal impact, as they also don’t want a rival team to get its hands on a certain player.
Garoppolo Was The Best QB On The Market
Going back to last season, many anticipated the 49ers moving on from Garoppolo.
He has been an above-average quarterback for several years now, and he has taken the Niners to the NFC Championship Game in two of the last three seasons.
Jimmy Garoppolo's first ever TD as a Ninerpic.twitter.com/zsjJMFGarl
— NFL Touchdowns Daily (@touchdowns_nfl) August 30, 2022
In the 2019 season, he led them to a Super Bowl appearance, where they held a late lead against the eventual world champion Kansas City Chiefs.
Garoppolo’s inability to get his team over the hump apparently led San Francisco to trade lots of draft capital to be able to take Lance in last year’s NFL Draft and hand the keys over to him.
But Garoppolo’s resume still speaks for himself, as he has a 33-14 record as a starter and a lifetime 98.9 passer rating.
In 2019, when he got the 49ers to the big game, he played in all 16 regular season contests and put up 3,978 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Many teams could do much worse than Garoppolo under center.
The Seahawks Could’ve Used Garoppolo
With the Wilson era over in the Pacific Northwest, head coach Pete Carroll and his Seahawks are now searching for their next franchise QB.
Smith isn’t exactly an accomplished signal-caller, as he has more career interceptions (37) than touchdowns (34), as well as a career passer rating of just 75.7.
The Seahawks still have talent at other positions, particularly wide receiver, where DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett give them a very solid pass-catching duo.
Rashaad Penny has also shown potential at running back when healthy.
A proven QB such as Garoppolo would’ve elevated Seattle and given it a shot at making the playoffs in a relatively weak NFC.
For what it’s worth, the Seahawks will travel south to meet the 49ers in California during Week 2.