Nate Sudfeld contract gives a tell on Jimmy Garoppolo future

Nate Sudfeld #7 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
Nate Sudfeld #7 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

While there are still claims Jimmy Garoppolo stays with the 49ers this season, backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld’s contract suggests otherwise.

The San Francisco 49ers aren’t going to keep quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for all of the upcoming 2022 season. They likely won’t even have him on the roster in Week 1.

By now, you’ve probably been fully inundated with all kinds of talk about the veteran’s future, especially whether or not the Niners actually move the quarterback or decide to keep him in one way or another:

  • San Francisco keeps him because he’s far more experienced than Trey Lance
  • San Francisco boots him because it’s now fully committed to Lance

There are going to be arguments in either direction, and that’s fine.

However, as more than a few Hollywood movies and series have stated, “follow the money.” And in this case, let’s look not at Garoppolo’s contract outright, per se, rather the one the 49ers dished out to the current No. 3 quarterback on their depth chart behind Garoppolo and Lance, Nate Sudfeld.

Nate Sudfeld’s contract suggests 49ers won’t pay Jimmy Garoppolo, too

Earlier this offseason, as ESPN’s Adam Schefter’s above tweet reported, the Niners dished out a one-year, fully guaranteed $2 million contract, and that data was corroborated by

That’s an exceptionally huge amount of money to be paid to a third-string quarterback, especially when one factors in San Francisco would be on the hook for all $2 million of it if Sudfeld ended up not making the 53-man roster this season.

Third-string quarterbacks rarely carry anything in guaranteed money, and the amount is minimal if it’s there at all.

$2 million guaranteed is, well… a guarantee Sudfeld will be on the roster.

But the 49ers can keep Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance and Nate Sudfeld, right?

If you’re in the camp that thinks, “So what? It’s not my money” with regards to the three contracts dished out to Garoppolo, Lance and Sudfeld, that’s perfectly OK.

And, yes, the 49ers could retain Sudfeld in a QB3 role behind Garoppolo and Lance this season. In theory, at least, and the Niners have publicly stated they’ve worked out a scenario, financially, where Garoppolo is on the roster for all of 2022.

Read More: Reassessing Jimmy Garoppolo’s value after Baker Mayfield trade

Whether or not that’d be at a reduced cap hit below his scheduled $26.95 million is anyone’s guess. Yet the kicker isn’t Garoppolo’s contract itself, per se, rather retaining Sudfeld on the 53-man roster in a third-string role at that hefty price tag.

If San Francisco goes that route, it’s not exactly the best use of financial resources. Especially in light of soon-to-be hefty contract extensions for star players like wide receiver Deebo Samuel and EDGE Nick Bosa, both of whom will require the 49ers to free up as much cash as possible.

With $2 million already committed fully to Sudfeld, another sign is pointing towards Garoppolo and his contract being cleared from the Niners’ accounts payable team.

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