5 former 49ers who could be forced into retirement by free agency

Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10)
Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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These soon-to-be free agents who once played for the 49ers could wind up not finding a new NFL team... ever again.

Rare are the players who spend a considerable length of time in the NFL.

In fact, the average NFL playing career is roughly 3.3 years. For many who are fortunate enough to land with a team during training camp, the dream of actually playing in a meaningful game on Sundays will come to a crashing halt with roster cuts at the end of the preseason.

Those careers are awfully short.

For others, including those who have been around the league for a while, there are always an influx of new players wanting to seize jobs, meaning NFL teams will always explore younger, cheaper and potentially better options each and every offseason.

Sure, NFL free agency can be enticing as an opportunity to land a big-money contract.

But it can also signal the end of a playing career.

Heading into 2024, the San Francisco 49ers don't have too many pending free agents who'd likely have exceptional difficulty getting a job this upcoming season.

But there are plenty of former Niners who may have to call it a career simply because no one else will sign them.

Here are five who fall into that category.

No. 1: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (Raiders)

Technically not a free agent yet, as he still has two more years on his current deal with the Las Vegas Raiders, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is reported to be released by Vegas in large part because of the shifting regime after last year's firing of one of Jimmy G's closest allies, head coach Josh McDaniels.

Garoppolo enjoyed nowhere near the kind of success he had with San Francisco, which ultimately led to his midseason benching.

Then, in the wake of both a two-game PED suspension and reports that Las Vegas was frustrated with him "being aloof," Garoppolo's already diminished stock value just took another massive hit.

Now, at best, Garoppolo is little more than a modest backup option on a low-budget deal, and it's perfectly reasonable to think the 32-year-old signal-caller struggles to find a job in 2024 and beyond after his pending release.