The highly anticipated 49ers trade of Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t gone down yet, and the market is looking cold. So, if not now, when?
Perhaps the San Francisco 49ers are far more patient than the fanbase, at least when it comes to trading off quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, a move many felt would kickstart the two-day open window for soon-to-be free agents to negotiate with new teams.
That seemed to be the perfect opportunity, too, as the Niners had to cut at least $9.5 million in team salary to get underneath the $208.2 million salary cap at the start of the league new year at 4 p.m. ET on March 16, and moving Jimmy G would have freed up $25.5 million, according to Over the Cap.
Instead, San Francisco elected to restructure contracts for tight end George Kittle and defensive tackle Arik Armstead to get underneath the threshold, meaning Garoppolo doesn’t have to be moved at the deadline.
If not imminently, though, when will Jimmy G be traded?
Are 49ers being too patient with Jimmy Garoppolo market?
While the offseason is rife with false rumors and speculation, the 49ers did have a market for Garoppolo’s services. The Indianapolis Colts, in particular, seemed interested after trading away quarterback Carson Wentz to the Washington Commanders, while the Carolina Panthers, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers all needed options, too, amid an otherwise bad offseason market for quarterbacks.
Yet Pittsburgh simply went with former Buffalo Bills backup quarterback Mitchell Trubisky instead, and the Colts’ reported interest in Garoppolo apparently has waned, according to more recent reports.
Perhaps the Niners should have accepted a best-offer deal in a tighter timeline, even if it was for less than they originally imagined.
Instead, it’s entirely possible they’re getting burned for overvaluing Garoppolo and being too patient in trading him.
Doesn’t mean it won’t happen at all, though.
When will 49ers end up trading Jimmy Garoppolo?
The Kittle and Armstead restructures mean San Francisco will currently sit at roughly $9.1 million below the salary cap, which is likely enough to absorb the 2022 contract hits for its two outside free agents brought in, cornerback Charvarius Ward and linebacker Oren Burks.
But with the 49ers’ anticipated cost for their 2022 NFL Draft class being about $7 million, there’s still work needing to be done.
The Niners could, feasibly, wait to see what happens with the quarterbacking market between now and then, and there’s no shortage of speculation and rumor surrounding what happens with the Cleveland Browns and Baker Mayfield, as well as where Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson winds up.
The Browns, Panthers, Saints and even the Atlanta Falcons have all reportedly been in on the Watson sweepstakes, and it’s surely possible San Francisco wants to see how that plays out before deciding what to do with Garoppolo.
Particularly with the teams that don’t wind up netting Watson.
In that sense, the 49ers could still land a decent-enough return for a Garoppolo trade, saving some of the earlier whiffs on opportunities just before NFL free agency started.
As for when, though, it’s hard to say. The Niners could wait until the NFL Draft, but that would assume risks with those QB-needy teams potentially drafting a quarterback early.
In all likelihood, it’ll be shortly after a Watson deal is announced, and that could be sooner than later.