Jimmy Garoppolo admits 49ers ‘could’ trade him sooner than later
By Peter Panacy
Speaking to The MMQB, Jimmy Garoppolo acknowledged the 49ers could be in a position where they traded him sooner than later this season.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is trying his best to make the most out of what’s usually an odd and uncomfortable situation.
Having two quarterbacks who both are effectively vying for the starting bid on a regular-season roster.
Garoppolo finds himself in a headlong competition with the No. 3 overall pick from this year’s NFL Draft, Trey Lance, to assume this duty. And while head coach Kyle Shanahan has regularly insisted Jimmy G remains “the guy” under center, at least for now, Garoppolo understands how quickly the landscape can change.
After all, he experienced it first hand when he was backing up quarterback Tom Brady when both were with the New England Patriots.
That turned into a situation no longer tenable. And considering the Niners have made the investment in Lance, it’s highly unlikely the current Garoppolo-Lance context will last a long time.
Jimmy Garoppolo admits 49ers could trade him at any moment
Well, at least not after this year’s NFL trade deadline and up to the start of the league new year. But Garoppolo told Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated’s MMQB column that he understood San Francisco could trade him away at whatever point the franchise deemed best.
Garoppolo said of the Lance addition and of the immediate future:
"I didn’t know how much to put into it, because if you start thinking one way, and then something happens and you go the opposite way, that’s going to make it even tougher out here. So I’ve really just tried to take it day-by-day.And even right now, anything could happen. I was traded two days before the trade deadline a couple years ago. I know in this league, anything’s possible."
Lame-duck quarterback situations are nothing new, yet they can play out in a number of different ways. The 49ers’ own transition decades ago from Joe Montana to Steve Young wasn’t amicable and took years, while the Green Bay Packers‘ situation with Aaron Rodgers and Jordan Love has been the source of plenty of reported consternation.
And as Garoppolo being shipped out of New England in 2017 instead of Brady being ousted showed, it’s not always the understudy who sticks around.
The Niners aren’t hoping for this kind of situation, of course. And by all accounts, Garoppolo has taken Lance’s presence in stride:
"I always want to be the starter, I’ll always fight to be the starter. But at the end of the day, I’m playing football. I’m loving it right now. It’s a competition, that’s what you’re here for. I’m ready for whatever."
Garoppolo has reportedly performed well during training camp. Yet Lance has wowed, too, and Shanahan won’t hesitate to make the switch at the soonest possible moment once he feels the rookie gives San Francisco as equal a chance at winning as Jimmy G.
Read More: How Trey Lance is outperforming Jimmy Garoppolo in training camp
Yet Garoppolo still has the advantage of being fully immersed in Shanahan’s complex offense, and the veteran’s experience is something Lance can only obtain in time.
Important, considering the rookie has just one full year as a collegiate starter.
But if Lance’s ascent continues at such a rapid pace, what would that mean for Garoppolo?
Could 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo early during 2021 season?
Long term, the 49ers want to trade Garoppolo and recoup some of the draft capital used to acquire Lance last spring.
But based on Shanahan’s comments, it doesn’t seem likely the Niners are actively shopping Garoppolo right now.
Much of that hinges on Lance’s development, of course. Yet moving Garoppolo also hinges on the market. Granted, getting out from underneath Garoppolo’s $26.4 million cap hit sooner than later would have all kinds of advantages. But rare will be the teams willing to take on that kind of money, and Garoppolo has little reason to agree to a pay cut following a would-be trade.
Hence why the Indianapolis Colts, short quarterback Carson Wentz (foot) to start the season, wouldn’t be plausible trade partners, as they have $11 million in cap space.
Still, all it would take is one team to either have its own quarterback situation completely deteriorate, paired with San Francisco hitting that threshold where it feels comfortable moving Garoppolo, for a trade to happen.
And even Jimmy G understands how quickly that kind of development can take place.