The 49ers may desperately try trading Jimmy Garoppolo at the 2021 NFL trade deadline, and this one AFC team might be in a position to make a deal.
The San Francisco 49ers are at a point where they should be both bold with their quarterbacking future while also doing their best to stockpile investment pieces for what’s a very uncertain future.
While that future is unclear, one certainty at play is the fact veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t a part of it. With rookie quarterback Trey Lance waiting in the folds, Garoppolo is a lame duck.
Everyone knows it, including Garoppolo and Lance.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly made commitments to Garoppolo, though, even after the quarterback endured an ugly three-turnover game in the wet, rainy Week 7 home loss to the Indianapolis Colts. At the same time, the Lance selection only capped off an entire offseason where Shanahan was actively trying to replace Jimmy G.
It might be challenging to trade Garoppolo, if that’s indeed a hidden plan this season. Garoppolo has a no-trade clause, meaning he has to sign off on whatever deal is made, and the fact he is currently set to earn $26.4 million this season and $27 million in 2022, per Over the Cap, won’t make general manager John Lynch’s phone inquiries for a bidder that much easier.
And that doesn’t even get into Garoppolo’s own injury history and recent on-field struggles.
Still, there’s a potentially contending team Lynch, Shanahan and the Niners may be able to convince to take on Garoppolo by the NFL trade deadline.
49ers must convince Broncos to trade for Jimmy Garoppolo
Lynch and Shanahan already have great ties with the Denver Broncos. Shanahan because of his father, Mike Shanahan, being a Super Bowl-winning coach there. And Lynch’s playing days in Denver sure help matters, too, in what’s turned into an open relationship when it comes to the trade market in recent years.
That aside, the Broncos’ own context has to be taken into account.
Head coach Vic Fangio could potentially be coaching for his job this season. Yet he’s somewhat graced by the fact the defending AFC champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, have stumbled out to a 3-4 start and find themselves fourth within the AFC West, even behind the same-record Broncos in a division that suddenly finds itself wide open.
Denver also has quarterbacking problems, arguably worse ones than San Francisco. There’s no “Lance in the folds” situation for Fangio, and the 2022 NFL Draft class for quarterbacks is shaky at best.
And up to this point in 2021, the Broncos’ current hopes under center aren’t exactly looking great. They already gave up on hoping Drew Lock could be the answer here by making the offseason move for Teddy Bridgewater, who in turn, has thrown five interceptions the last three games to cap off Denver’s own five-game losing streak.
No, it’s not looking like Bridgewater is the answer either.
Broncos have the context to make a move for Jimmy Garoppolo
Again, a team with plenty of cap space would have to be an ideal suitor for Garoppolo by the deadline. And while it still might require some cap jockeying on the Broncos’ part, they do have $14.73 million in available cap space right now, third most in the NFL.
Maybe Garoppolo isn’t a surefire upgrade over Bridgewater. But one could make the argument he’d enjoy the context much more, especially if Denver is able to put off its own worries about finding a long-term replacement as soon as 2022.
Related Story: 5 possible trade partners for Jimmy Garoppolo
Even then, Garoppolo’s contract, which would carry over, still has an easy team-friendly out this offseason.
More importantly, though, the Broncos have a loaded offense consisting of top pass-catching weapons like tight end Noah Fant and wide receivers Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. The offensive line is young and promising, too.
All that’s needed is a halfway-decent quarterback. And “halfway decent” can be used to describe Garoppolo when he’s been at his most effective during his career.