Although his options probably will be limited at this point in the NFL year, Jimmy Garoppolo soon might have the luxury of picking his next team.
The 49ers selecting Trey Lance with the third overall pick in last year’s draft effectively was the beginning of the end for Garoppolo in San Francisco. While Jimmy G impressed in the 2021 campaign and nearly led the Niners to Super Bowl LVI, Kyle Shanahan and company are moving forward with the 22-year-old as the organization’s starting quarterback.
The only real uncertainty surrounding Garoppolo’s situation in the Bay Area has been how he and the 49ers will part ways. There have been too many trade rumors to count over the past year-plus, but if you ask Peter King, the “most likely” scenario is the veteran signal-caller getting released by Labor Day.
“The Niners have two weeks to cut the roster to 53,” King wrote in his latest Football Morning in America column for NBC Sports. “Theoretically, they would want to make a decision on Garoppolo by then, because in an ideal world they don’t want a guy they have no intention of keeping count against their 53. But that’s out of their hands unless Cleveland or Seattle figures it would be smart to trade something for him. If they keep Garoppolo, they’d have to expose a make-it player on cutdown day and they could lose a valuable special-teams performer, let’s say. The next landmark is the week before the Sept. 11 opener. If Garoppolo is on the roster then, the club would have to guarantee his $24.2 million salary for the season.
“The reality is that the Niners likely won’t keep Garoppolo with the big salary. But then there’s the danger of releasing Jimmy G before the season, and a motivated Garoppolo going to Seattle, for example (San Francisco’s Week 2 foe), and interfering with the Niners’ contention plans.”
Holding on to Garoppolo as long as possible makes the most sense for the 49ers. If a desperate team ends up needing a capable quarterback with little time to spare before Week 1, San Francisco could wind up with a nice trade return.