Possible outcomes for Jimmy Garoppolo in 2022
Jimmy Garoppolo has to play a role in the decision process, whatever that might be.
To his credit, he’s handled this awkward situation about as well as anyone could have asked, not creating a distraction for the front office or the roster and openly expressing his support for Trey Lance even though the latter is poised to take his job.
Both Jimmy G and the 49ers would prefer to find an amicable situation for both, but that might not be possible.
Jimmy Garoppolo gets traded
Few teams could actively seek quarterback upgrades. Maybe the Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans or Seattle Seahawks, but the Niners aren’t going trade Garoppolo within the NFC West, so that crosses off the Hawks.
Houston seems poised to try things out with second-year pro Davis Mills, and reports suggest the Panthers have no interest in Garoppolo right now either despite their own quarterbacking shortcomings.
However, the key words in that last statement are “right now,” and the landscape could easily change between now and the regular season.
49ers release Jimmy Garoppolo outright
It’s possible either Garoppolo or San Francisco reach the end of the line, the quarterback simply asking for an outright release so he can latch on somewhere else where he can have the opportunity to start.
Or at least sign a new contract with more guaranteed and/or for a longer term than the one year remaining on his current deal.
The 49ers, looking to clear up cap space and free up the logjam under center, could easily oblige even if it means they get nothing in return.
Jimmy Garoppolo accepts his role as a backup
It might not be ideal, and it might not even take place with the Niners. But Garoppolo might have to accept the fact the rest of the league has settled on starting quarterbacks already, essentially pushing his time to start again back a year. Maybe two.
This isn’t without precedent.
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Former Chicago Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky had to accept a backup role with the Buffalo Bills in 2021 before landing a free-agent starter’s deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, while former Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota had to perform QB2 duties with the Las Vegas Raiders before being signed by the Atlanta Falcons this offseason to be their starter, too.
Maybe that’s a course Garoppolo will have to accept.
Either way, there’s more than enough uncertainty facing the veteran quarterback in the upcoming weeks and months, and it’s still nearly impossible to truly gauge what will happen, given all the yet-to-be-determined X-factors that haven’t played out.