What will 49ers get if they trade Jimmy Garoppolo?

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

The 49ers are expected to move Jimmy Garoppolo via trade this offseason, and a questionable quarterback market creates speculation about his value.

Speaking to the media following the San Francisco 49ers’ painful 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the 2022 NFC Championship game, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was visibly emotional when asked about the reality that game would be his last in a Niners uniform.

“We’ll see what happens in these next couple of days, weeks, whatever,” Garoppolo said after failing to come up with the key play that could have propelled San Francisco into the Super Bowl. “But I love this team. The fight and the battle in this team throughout the entire year has been really impressive, and I love those guys.”

Garoppolo understands the reality of the situation. Be it because of his lengthy injury history or the reality he isn’t quite capable of carrying the 49ers offense on his shoulders, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to aggressively trade up last year to grab quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

Lance is the future. Garoppolo isn’t. It’s that simple.

The Niners want to recoup some of the assets they moved to get Lance, and there will be a market for Garoppolo’s services in 2022. In fact, San Francisco picked a great year to attempt to move Jimmy G to a quarterback-needy team. And despite his flaws, Garoppolo is a good-value starter, as FanSided’s NFL insider Matt Verderame pointed out:

"After trading multiple first-round picks to move up for Trey Lance, San Francisco general manager John Lynch needs to recoup some assets with Garoppolo. Although he’s rife with shortcomings, Garoppolo is 30 years old and entering the final year of his affordable ($27M cap hit) contract. There will be suitors, led perhaps by Washington, three-quarters of the NFC South and the teams who miss out on Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson and Aaron Rodgers."

Offseason NFL market exists for Jimmy Garoppolo

The 2022 draft, unlike 2021, isn’t chock full of starting-caliber quarterbacks. In fact, one ACC scout told Niner Noise he doesn’t figure any of the signal-callers projected to go in Round 1 will end up being a bona fide starter at any point.

Free agency figures to offer few likable options either, meaning the only reasonable means a QB-hungry squad might have to pull off a trade to land someone who can win now.

As Verderame pointed out, the bulk of the NFC South will be looking for a quarterback, the Carolina Panthers to upgrade over Sam Darnold and Cam Newton, the New Orleans Saints in the wake of Sean Payton’s retirement and perhaps even the Tampa Bay Buccaneers depending on whether or not Tom Brady finally calls it a career.

Over on the AFC side, the Denver Broncos won’t settle on Teddy Bridgewater or Drew Lock, the Pittsburgh Steelers just watched Ben Roethlisberger retire and the Houston Texans are still in total rebuild mode after a projected trade for Watson.

Those are just some of the teams looking for quarterbacks. There’ll be more, especially if others like Wilson, Rodgers or even the Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins move on.

FanSided NFL insider Matt Lombardo spoke to one NFL personnel director about the teams most likely to be involved in a would-be Jimmy G trade:

"One current personnel director tells FanSided the expectation inside the league is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Denver Broncos are expected to make a strong push to trade for Garoppolo.Following Brady and Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement, adding a veteran presence like Garoppolo as a bridge to a quarterback yet to be drafted just might be the kind of move to keep the Buccaneers near the top of the NFC playoff picture and the Steelers a force in the AFC North."

Needless to say, it’ll be quite the quarterbacking carousel in 2022.

What would 49ers get in return for Jimmy Garoppolo?

Garoppolo’s no-trade clause worked into his contract no longer applies to 2022, and the team onboarding him would initially have to absorb his $25.5 million post-trade salary after San Francisco would absorb $1.4 million in dead money.

Two months ago, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport told KNBR 680 the 49ers might be able to net a second-round draft pick via trade for Garoppolo’s services. That was, of course, before Garoppolo went cold during the playoffs and failed to come up with that clutch moment in the NFC Championship game.

Still, the lack of other options could force some teams, particularly those in win-now mode, to act a bit more aggressively.

A bidding war between those teams would be precisely what the Niners would want to create, perhaps enticing a team to offer up not just a second-round pick but potentially an additional third- or fourth-round selection, too. Perhaps even a player.

Another AFC personnel director told Lombardo the following:

"I’d think the Niners could realistically get a second-round pick plus at least a player. But, I do think his market could expand once teams get one look at this year’s quarterback class. He’s probably better than anyone from this class or 2023."

Related Story: Jimmy Garoppolo to Bucs to replace Tom Brady (why it could happen)

Maybe, in a best-case scenario, Garoppolo could command a tail-end Round 1 selection.

Not everyone is on board with that possibility, though, as a former general manager explained to Lombardo:

"Teams aren’t going to be thinking “Hey, I have to go get this guy.” The 49ers, and John Lynch are going to look around and say ‘hey, we’ve got no leverage, let’s go,’ so I think there’s a chance they’ll have to settle on a No. 3 or No. 4 [pick], unless they somehow drum up a bidding war and get several teams in on the action."

As unlikely as a first-round pick seems, remember, the Minnesota Vikings once offered up a first-round selection as part of a package to the Philadelphia Eagles for underwhelming quarterback Sam Bradford back in 2016.

Not saying that’s what’ll happen in Garoppolo’s case, of course. But the possibility is certainly in play.

For our money, though, a second-round pick probably sounds like the most realistic best-case scenario.

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