The 49ers likely valued Jimmy Garoppolo much more than any other team in need of a quarterback this offseason, and his market value is drying up quickly.
With the hours counting down to the point where the San Francisco 49ers have to get underneath the $208.2 million salary cap for the 2022 season, the news front on what appears to be an imminent trade of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has gone quiet.
The context of the whole situation is well-known. There were more quarterback-needy teams heading into the offseason than quarterbacks readily available. Especially starting-caliber ones. And unless a team (such as the Denver Broncos with former Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson) was willing to engineer a blockbuster trade with a perennial Pro Bowler, it’d likely be stuck with second- and third-rate options.
Or one of only a handful of sub-optimal options in a weak NFL Draft class.
Nevertheless, teams potentially in need of quarterbacks this offseason began making their moves, none of which involved Jimmy G. The Washington Commanders, long viewed as a potential suitor, engineered a trade with the Indianapolis Colts for quarterback Carson Wentz. The Pittsburgh Steelers, in need of someone following quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement, elected to sign former Chicago Bears and Buffalo Bills signal-caller Mitchell Trubisky on the opening day of the NFL free agency negotiations window.
Cheaper than taking on Garoppolo’s $25.5 million owed in a post-trade salary for 2022.
And while the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers are also in need of options, they’re both reportedly hot on the trail of Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, too.
Sure, it’s possible the Niners are waiting to see what happens there. Yet if there’s one thing for certain, the market on Garoppolo is drying up.
49ers losing Colts as potential Jimmy Garoppolo trade partner?
The Colts, who shipped off Wentz and were reportedly seeking a better locker-room leader, could have emerged as a top favorite for Garoppolo, and there was plenty of smoke there, at least according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
No deal has materialized, though. And the latest news from NFL insider Benjamin Allbright, appearing on 95.7 The Game (h/t 49ers Webzone), isn’t particularly great either:
"The market on [Garoppolo] has cratered. I don’t think the Colts are in on him at all. I think it’s going to be [Marcus] Mariota. I think the shoulder surgery thing is just adding salt to the wound there, and it’s just a bad situation.The Niners were hoping to get a pair of twos [for] him, and at this point, they’d be lucky to get a day-three pick [for] him."
Allbright also pointed out teams were fully aware San Francisco was ready to move Garoppolo this offseason. Some, such as the Steelers, felt simply signing a cheaper veteran like Trubsiky would be a smarter bet, one which wouldn’t involve dishing out NFL Draft compensation.
Others, as Allbright also pointed out, simply went with their contingency plans.
Who’s to blame more, 49ers or Jimmy Garoppolo?
One report suggested the 49ers had received an offer of a second-round pick for Garoppolo. If that was the case, the Niners should have jumped, particularly in hindsight.
Especially if San Francisco now only gets a day-three pick, if anything at all.
At the same time, though, Garoppolo undergoing offseason shoulder surgery nearly a month after his team was eliminated in the playoffs probably carried a bit of weight, too. While Garoppolo is expected to make a full recovery and be ready in time for training camp, he’ll nevertheless miss many of the spring workouts leading up to camp, which would be vital for meshing chemistry with a new team.
Whether or not Garoppolo and his camp intended this to “stick it” to the 49ers is anyone’s guess. However, there’s always the chance Garoppolo would prefer to force the Niners to release him outright, thereby having a chance to sign a long-term deal (even for less money) at his preferred destination.
Still, if Allbright is correct and San Francisco had the chance to land a second-round pick, it’s perceived overvaluing of Garoppolo could easily come back to haunt the team.
Especially if the 49ers end up having to simply release him outright for nothing in return.
And with the need to clear cap space, that might happen sooner than later.