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It’s Time For The 49ers To Release This Untradeable Asset

Multiple NFL teams need an upgrade at the quarterback position and Jimmy Garoppolo, a starting QB fresh off another deep playoff run, is on the trading block. Unfortunately, the 49ers are learning the top quarterback on the market is also the Niners’ least-valuable trade asset.

The 49ers traded a second-round pick to the New England Patriots at the back end of the 2017 NFL season in exchange for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. After the Niners won the final five games of the season with Garoppolo under center, the team signed him to a 5-year contract extension in hopes he would become the next great franchise quarterback and lead them to their sixth Lombardi trophy. Now, San Francisco would be lucky to get anything in return for him in trades as they transition to Trey Lance.

Even with all the QB movement this past off-season, Garoppolo was not able to find a new team. Now amid week three of the preseason, it would be a foolish business decision to trade for the veteran QB. Here are some of the simple reasons why.

Garoppolo’s Injury History For The 49ers Makes For A Hard Sell

For as long as he’s worn the red and gold, Jimmy Garoppolo struggled to stay on the field. In week three of the 2018 season, he tore his ACL in a loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, putting him on injured reserve for the season. Garoppolo managed to put together his only healthy season in 2019 when the Niners advanced to the Super Bowl.

However, Jimmy followed that year up with another ten missed games in 2020 due to ankle injuries. Garoppolo was also playing through injuries in the playoffs last season and had surgery on the back of his throwing shoulder during the off-season. It’s safe to say Garoppolo’s procedure this off-season has given teams cause to pause when it comes to a potential trade.


So why didn't the Colts go after Jimmy G? Form what I was told, there were concerns over the shoulder injury. Not so much the medical side of it but the idea of missing time in the offseason with a new team. This was a red flag. — Dianna Russini (@diannaESPN) March 21, 2022

In total, Jimmy G has missed 25 games since 2018. Why would a team invest proven talent or draft capital for an injury-riddled player who is due $25 million this upcoming season? It simply wouldn’t make sense, especially when considering it’s likely safe to say the 30-year-old quarterback already hit his ceiling in 2019.

If A Team Wants Jimmy, They Don’t Need To Trade With The 49ers

The 49ers have kept Garoppolo away from team programs the entire offseason. As they transition to the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft in Trey Lance, the team has made it very clear they’re moving on. Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have communicated to the public that Jimmy is aware of the business decision the Niners are committing to.

It’d be very unlikely for the 49ers to hold onto a player making $25 million just to be away from the team all season long. Having Garoppolo in the locker room could cause unnecessary division in the organization anytime Lance struggles in a game. The 49ers will more than likely end up cutting Jimmy Garoppolo during final cuts which would allow any interested team to pursue the veteran quarterback while saving their draft picks and surely a ton of cap space.


49ers’ Garoppolo Isn’t Enough Of An Improvement For Suitors

Some of the potential suitors for Jimmy G are the Cleveland Browns, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Seattle Seahawks. All of these teams lack a proven starting quarterback except for Cleveland, who will be without Deshaun Watson during his 11-game suspension.

For a team to have the biggest pay-off after trading assets for Garoppolo, the roster must be in a position to make a deep playoff run with room for improvement at quarterback to move the needle over their opponents. For the rebuilding Giants and Seahawks, it’d be in their best interest to ride out the season and accept a higher draft position next spring where they could potentially find their answer at QB by developing one the next handful of years on a rookie salary.

When it comes to Jimmy G, he’s 30 years old and has been in the NFL for eight seasons. He’d likely serve as nothing more than a rental for one or maybe a couple of years for most of these teams.

Pittsburgh is in the AFC which consists of a QB gauntlet, especially within their division. With Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson, and Deshaun Watson – when he’s playing – the Steelers would still have the fourth-best QB in the division if they add Garoppolo. While Jimmy is serviceable, the others in the AFC North are MVP-caliber quarterbacks and it’d be difficult to acquire any QB better than one of them. It’s simply not worth sacrificing draft capital if it doesn’t move the needle for Pittsburgh. However, signing Garoppolo as a free agent if he’s released could make sense if the team is not confident in the current quarterbacks on the roster.

The Browns would make sense in terms of fit. With Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt as the running backs and the addition of wideout Amari Cooper along with a talented defense to back them up, Garoppolo could do a decent job in relief of Watson for the first 11 games. Another reason Cleveland makes the most sense is simply that the Browns don’t have their first-round pick next year after trading it to Houston in the Watson deal.

So even if they wanted to “tank” for a high draft pick, they can’t. It would make more sense for them to stay competitive while awaiting Watson’s return. In terms of experience and resume, Jimmy G is clearly the best option for them on paper if they were to bring in someone else.

Still, why sacrifice draft picks when they’ll likely have a chance to sign Jimmy G for much cheaper as a free agent in a matter of days? He also hasn’t been participating in team practices coming off his shoulder surgery so teams don’t exactly know what he looks like right now. And the timing of it all is poor considering Garoppolo would have to come in right before the regular season with no training camp, no chemistry, and no prior playbook knowledge in whatever new offense he joins.

There’s No Point In Trading For 49ers Quarterback This Late

To try and justify sacrificing a draft pick in this scenario we have to go off what we know about Garoppolo already and the reality is professional athletes are judged in a “what have you done for me lately” type of business.

In 63 career games, Jimmy G has committed 47 turnovers and has thrown four touchdown passes to go with six interceptions in his seven playoff starts with Kyle Shanahan as his play-caller. How much sense would it make to trade for a quarterback in hopes of making a playoff run when that same QB statistically plays worse in the playoffs than he does in the regular season? Also, Kyle Shanahan’s play-calling isn’t included in the trade package.

The 49ers simply don’t seem to have any leverage in any potential trade negotiation regarding Garoppolo. They didn’t even seem to have leverage at all dating back to the beginning of the off-season when other quarterbacks were finding new teams left and right. If a team didn’t feel the need to trade for Jimmy G then, or around the draft, why do it now so late in the game?

Shanahan and Lynch may try to publicly compliment Garoppolo all they want in their last resort effort to pump his trade value. But with the lack of negotiations and trade interest, the value seems dead in the water.

It would make more sense for other teams to dare the 49ers to hold onto Jimmy’s contract and hold out for a trade midseason, which doesn’t seem likely. Expect to see Garoppolo officially off the 49ers roster when the day comes for final cuts.


John Lynch had a long answer when Tom Tolbert asked him on KNBR what the timeline looks like for when the 49ers would release Jimmy Garoppolo if there's no trade. However, his first words were, "Yeah, you know I think we're getting pretty close." — Matt Barrows (@mattbarrows) August 23, 2022

Where do you think Jimmy G will end up?

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