San Francisco 49ers Appear More Likely To Cut Jimmy Garoppolo Rather Than Trade Him

The San Francisco 49ers are boxing themselves into a corner.

As the 49ers continue to look for a trade partner — any trade partner — for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, his trade value continues to decrease. At the eve of training camp, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear that it’s second-year quarterback Trey Lance’s team moving forward. In other words, they want Garoppolo away from the team to prevent any sort of distraction moving forward.

The situation has reached the point where although Garoppolo is still practicing, he’s technically not practicing with the team. He’s also free to come and go as he pleases as the 49ers desperately look for a trade partner.

At the present moment, the 49ers won’t find another team willing to take on Garoppolo. Across the league, every team is content with their quarterback situation. The only way San Francisco finds a trade partner prior to the season is if a starting quarterback goes down due to injury.

And while certainly anything can happen during training camp and preseason, the NFL’s recent rule changes on limiting contact during camp combined with the decrease in preseason games played means there’s less of a chance of that occurring.

Assuming the rest of the league escapes the preseason without a serious injury to their starting quarterbacks, the 49ers face a real dilemma — keep Garoppolo on the roster heading into the season or simply cut him outright.

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Shanahan addressed the topic at the beginning of training camp, saying it would “surprise” him to see Garoppolo on the roster at the start of the season.

Via Mike Florio of NBC Sports:

“I don’t give an absolute anything, so yeah, I’m sure I could come up with the scenario, but I think I said earlier that would surprise me and I still feel that way,” Shanahan said.

Possessing a $25 million cap hit and a reputation for being a game-managing quarterback, Garoppolo isn’t exactly moving the needle across the league. It’s become clear that NFL teams would rather wait for Garoppolo’s release rather than pay him $25 million — or a smaller portion of that — along with draft capital to acquire an average quarterback as a stopgap option.

Furthermore, the 49ers are essentially forced into cutting Garoppolo before the season starts if they can’t find a trade partner. As Florio notes, his contract becomes guaranteed in Week 1.

“With the team now all-on on Trey Lance, they’ll squat on Garoppolo and hope for a trade opportunity to materialize,” says Florio. “If it doesn’t, they will absolutely cut him before Week One, when his $24.2 million salary would otherwise become fully guaranteed as termination pay, under the Collective Bargaining Agreement.”

There’s little doubt that Garoppolo will find a landing spot if he becomes a free agent. The Seattle Seahawks have reportedly done their “homework” on Garoppolo and would be interested in him if he becomes a free agent. The same could probably be said for several other destinations across the league.

But the 49ers face an uphill battle in finding a trade partner for Garoppolo. The more likely scenario sees San Francisco outright releasing the veteran quarterback as they move forward with Lance as their franchise quarterback.

The 49ers have done a lazy job in managing Garoppolo’s trade value. His reputation as a limited quarterback combined with his recovery from offseason shoulder surgery didn’t help matters. But San Francisco essentially threw him under the bus when they made it clear they’re moving on without him following their NFC Championship Game loss.

Barring an injury, the more likely scenario sees Garoppolo becoming a free agent by the time the 2022 NFL season starts.