With the preseason now over for the San Francisco 49ers, they now have over two weeks to get ready for the first regular season game, which will take place at Soldier Field versus the Chicago Bears on Sept. 11.
One item of business the 49ers have to take care of is what to do with former starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
They have been looking to trade him for months, but lately, it has looked all but certain they would release him.
There is also now a chance that San Francisco will simply keep him and make him a backup to new starting QB Trey Lance.
One reason why is the trade market for Garoppolo is pretty much non-existent.
From @NFLNetwork: Players to watch as we get closer to Tuesday, taking a look at #49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo, #Chiefs RB Ronald Jones, and #Steelers QB Mason Rudolph (who has drawn trade interest). pic.twitter.com/hsyKqC8LRt
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 26, 2022
“My understanding is a trade partner as of right now, absent of a quarterback injury, does not exist,” said Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
Therefore, the 49ers must let go of their insistence on getting some value back for Garoppolo.
The Trouble With Trading Garoppolo
Earlier this year, multiple teams, including the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns, expressed some interest in Garoppolo, but nothing even came close to materializing in terms of a trade.
Garoppolo is a proven above-average QB who will stabilize a team and get it to the playoffs while giving it a chance to do some real damage there.
Since joining San Francisco midway through the 2017 season, he has a 31-14 record there as a starter, and he has taken it to the NFC Championship Game twice and the Super Bowl once in just the last three years.
— John Chapman (@JL_Chapman) February 21, 2021
Many feel the Browns make perfect sense for him, given they will be without their starting QB, Deshaun Watson, for the first 11 games of the season, and also given that, like the Niners, they use a run-heavy offense.
But a major sticking point in any Garoppolo trade has been his contract, which will pay him $25.6 million this season.
The Niners have reportedly been unwilling to take care of a good portion of that salary in any potential trade.
The Case For Releasing Him
The benefits of the 49ers releasing Garoppolo, if they do so, would be purely financial.
They would get lots of salary cap relief, which could pay them dividends down the road.
Although most of their core players are under contract beyond this season, star pass rusher Nick Bosa is looking for a contract extension to keep him with the team beyond the 2023 campaign.
The Niners aren’t in any rush to get such an extension done, but releasing Garoppolo could expedite that.
The Case For Keeping Garoppolo
Quarterback depth is important in such a brutal sport, and especially considering Lance will have the usual growing pains that every NFL QB has ever experienced.
If Lance goes through an especially rough stretch or gets injured, it would be nice for them to have Garoppolo fill in for a while.
However, Garoppolo would have to accept being a QB2, as he was on the New England Patriots several years ago behind Tom Brady, and it is unclear if he would do just that.