49ers face challenges keeping Jimmy Garoppolo in 2023

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The 49ers are still reportedly committed to Trey Lance going forward, but Jimmy Garoppolo is still a big part of the discussion in 2023.

Not long ago, Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer reported the San Francisco 49ers are still fully committed to their second-year quarterback, Trey Lance, despite the 2021 No. 3 overall NFL Draft pick riding the bench for almost all of his rookie campaign and then suffering a season-ending injury in Week 2 of his first full year as a starter.

As such, the Niners simply couldn’t quit the veteran signal-caller, Jimmy Garoppolo, despite him going through an awfully odd offseason full of trade speculation, shoulder surgery and whatnot.

Garoppolo is playing well right now, arguably the best ever since coming over to San Francisco way back in 2017, and that’s led to some thinking he might actually be the best fit for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co. moving forward despite the lofty investment in Lance over a year ago.

Some, such as The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami, feel there’s no other way but to have Garoppolo in the discussion as the 49ers’ 2023 starting quarterback.

However, as Kawakami also noted, Garoppolo is a free agent this offseason, and the only way in which he’d fathom a return to the Niners is if he’s the starter, not Lance’s backup as he was intended to be heading into Week 1 this year.

Even if San Francisco decides to postpone Lance’s starting role for yet another year in an attempt to lure Garoppolo back, things might not be that simple and easy.

Jimmy Garoppolo can take advantage of a hot quarterback market

Garoppolo was supposed to have plenty of suitors last offseason, especially amid a poor free-agent class and with few quality quarterbacking options in the 2022 draft, except things didn’t pan out that way.

Heading into 2023, though, one might argue there’ll be even more teams looking (and scrambling) for quarterbacks.

Two of Lance’s draft mates, the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson and the New England Patriots’ Mac Jones, have struggled mightily this season and could see their respective tenures with their teams come to a premature end. Quarterback Baker Mayfield arriving with the Carolina Panthers didn’t cut it, and the Indianapolis Colts can’t feel good about their newfound veteran, Matt Ryan.

Read More: 4 teams that aggressively pursue Jimmy Garoppolo in 2023

The Washington Commanders benched Carson Wentz in favor of Taylor Heinicke, and who knows what the Houston Texans have in Davis Mills. And, for teams like the Atlanta Falcons and Pittsburgh Steelers who have 2022 rookie quarterbacks in play for long-term jobs, what will those futures hold?

Simply put, there are likely to be more starting jobs available this offseason than last year.

Will another NFL team outspend 49ers for Jimmy Garoppolo?

So much of this is predicated on Glazer being wrong and the 49ers wanting to shift their attention from Lance back to Garoppolo in 2023.

Assuming that, the Niners have an estimated $14.5 million in cap space next year, according to Over the Cap, and that wouldn’t include any money going to Garoppolo.

Even at a discounted and team-friendly rate, Garoppolo wouldn’t likely take anything less than $20 million a year, and that doesn’t even take into account the real probability that a bidding war is likely to materialize for his services this offseason.

Particularly in the wake of him having one of, if not the best seasons of his pro career to date.

Teams like the Falcons, Patriots, Texans and Seattle Seahawks all have substantially more cap space than San Francisco, and there are plenty of other teams looking at quarterbacks who can at least get in the financial conversation, too.

Should the 49ers actually want to bring Garoppolo back, it’ll be extremely difficult to outspend those other suitors.

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