The 49ers effectively have one more weekend to try trading Jimmy Garoppolo, and no one is buying they’ll keep him for 2022 if no trade develops.
The San Francisco 49ers are looking squarely at the final opportunity to trade their former starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, prior to the opening of the 2022 regular season.
All 32 teams have one last preseason game to play. And part of the Niners’ dwindling hopes to trade Garoppolo hinged on whether or not 31 other squads’ top signal-callers managed to stay healthy and avoid the injury bug.
And while there have been some teams with less-than-ideal quarterbacking over two weeks of preseason action, those squads aren’t biting.
49ers aren’t having Jimmy Garoppolo trade luck with Browns, Steelers or Giants
Entering training camp, perhaps the Niners could have entertained the idea of moving Garoppolo to the New York Giants, who were struggling to get hot-seat quarterback Daniel Jones into a rhythm. The Pittsburgh Steelers, in the wake of the Ben Roethlisberger era, weren’t exactly watching Pro Bowl-caliber play from either Mitchell Trubisky or rookie Kenny Pickett. And the near wonder if the New York Jets would be without injured signal-caller Zach Wilson dissipated with news the second-year pro would return in only a few weeks.
Just before Watson’s suspension went official, Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot reported Cleveland would explore trading for Garoppolo if Watson’s suspension increased from the previous six games.
In order to get Garoppolo acclimated to head coach Kevin Stefanski’s offense, if the Browns wanted to acquire Garoppolo as a fill-in replacement for Watson over those 11 games, they would have done so by now.
Not a mere matter of days before the regular season.
So, despite calls for Cleveland to execute that move, the longer the delay in doing so suggests it won’t happen.
No, 49ers aren’t going to be content holding onto Jimmy Garoppolo
Perhaps as a ruse to convince other teams the Niners aren’t going to outright release Garoppolo, CEO Jed York told The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami (h/t Pro Football Talk) that San Francisco would be comfortable holding onto the veteran quarterback for 2022.
There’s no sense in doing that whatsoever. It’s a bluff.
Garoppolo is due $24.2 million in base salary this year, according to Over the Cap, and that amount becomes fully guaranteed if Jimmy G is on the 49ers roster on Sept. 11 when they face off against the Chicago Bears for Week 1.
That’s five times too much the amount due to even a solid backup quarterback. And while the Niners have done their best to keep Garoppolo away from the practice field (he doesn’t even possess the team’s current playbook) in order to stress just how much they’re committed to second-year pro Trey Lance from this point onward, valuing that $24.2 million rolling over into 2023 is much more important than trying to salvage whatever trade possibility that could feasibly pan out.
So, why is San Francisco still waiting?
49ers don’t want Seahawks to sign Jimmy Garoppolo too soon
Despite the Seattle Seahawks heading into a long-awaited post-Russell Wilson rebuild, at least from the 49ers’ perspective, there’s still something of a cold war going on between the two franchises.
And the last thing the Niners want to do is help out their NFC West rivals, which is one of the reasons why any inter-division trade between the two teams was probably never going to materialize even if it made some sense.
The Hawks are poised to enter 2022 with either Geno Smith or Drew Lock under center, and neither inspire any serious level of confidence.
In the opposite situation as the Browns, Seattle would prefer to mesh Garoppolo in with its offense as soon as possible rather than waiting mere hours before Week 1 kicks off. And, of note, the Seahawks visit San Francisco in Week 2.
According to a report from ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (h/t Bleacher Report), the Hawks are patiently waiting for the 49ers to release Garoppolo so there’d be no commitment to that $24-plus million:
"People I’ve talked to around the league still expect that any interested team—whether it’s the Browns, Seattle—they’re waiting for him to be released.“They don’t want anything to do with that $26 million that he’s owed this year. And they know the clock is ticking on San Francisco—that money becomes guaranteed Week 1. And so they’re just going to sort of wait this out."
In a nutshell, the Niners played the market and hoped it’d improve for Garoppolo.
It didn’t, and San Francisco now has only one more week to determine if another team suffers an injury to re-spark what’s the now-diminished market on an overvalued commodity.