No. 2: Will Jimmy Garoppolo demand 49ers release him?
As soon as the 49ers made the move for Trey Lance, there was the real possibility Jimmy Garoppolo would immediately demand a trade or release.
But he didn’t. And for a pretty simple reason, a $26.4 million reason he wouldn’t get out there on the open market. Not after multiple serious injuries and a merely so-so tenure as the Niners’ starter.
Garoppolo is going to be jettisoned this offseason anyway, and it’ll be hard for San Francisco to find a trade partner to take on the final $27 million owed to him in 2022, meaning a straight-up release is probable. And Garoppolo, his stock value at a new low, won’t be worth much on the free-agent market.
There’s a way to rectify that, though.
Garoppolo could demand his release once Lance is handed the starter’s role. He’d almost surely clear waivers, even though his prorated salary remaining on the year is relatively affordable. If he was to clear, Garoppolo would then be free to sign with another quarterback-needy team potentially on the cusp of competing for a postseason berth, perhaps one like the New Orleans Saints, Denver Broncos or even Cleveland Browns, whose own starters are either injured or underperforming this season.
The 49ers would likely grant this, naming Nate Sudfeld the backup to Trey Lance. And Garoppolo would likely go from one starter’s job to another to help salvage his career.