Analysis

Why Would Jimmy Garoppolo Want to Stay in San Francisco?

Jimmy Garoppolo

Let’s start by getting the easy part of this deal out of the way. By keeping Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers get added depth at the quarterback position (which was the biggest risk to the team’s success this season) and an affordable, top-of-market backup QB. Garoppolo’s restructured deal makes him the highest-paid backup in the league. According to Over The Cap, Garoppolo will receive $6.5 million this year.

 

Name

Team

2022 Cash

J. Garoppolo

49ers

$6,500,000

T. Bridgewater

Dolphins

$6,500,000

T. Taylor

Giants

$5,500,000

 

The 49ers’ commitment to Trey Lance is real and strong. The deal helps confirm that. It would take a serious injury or a very extended period of poor performance for Garoppolo to even be a consideration to start a game for San Francisco this season.

Let’s review what Garoppolo did. He took a 75 percent pay cut, created a real possibility he will hit the free agency market this spring having not taken a snap this season, and passed up an opportunity to go to a team where play time would have been at least more likely, if not assured.

Garoppolo had complete control and as much leverage as a player would want over the situation, but chose to stay in San Francisco. The 49ers could not keep him for his $26 million cap number prior to this agreement. Once the team made a commitment to Lance, Garoppolo was given the opportunity to find a team with a quarterback who has been frequently injured or a situation where the QB wasn’t established enough to block even a legit competition for the starting job.

It’s also surprising that once we knew he was willing to play for $6.5 million plus incentives, that even teams with future needs at the quarterback position didn’t want him.

In a situation like the Giants or Seahawks, Garoppolo would at the very least have the chance to impress coaches in practice with the hopes of winning the starting job in 2023. Teams like the Texans, Dolphins or Jets might also be interested, due to the fact their starting quarterbacks have injury concerns on top of question marks about their talent.

Garoppolo has put up with a lot of bad publicity in the past 18 months. Between the 49ers trading up in the draft for Lance, the early announcement Lance would be the starter this offseason and the degree of pay cut that they sought, a player would usually reach the point where he wants to get out as soon as possible—especially when that player boasts a 33-14 record as a starter. Somehow Garoppolo got past that, and things never got emotional.

No doubt about it, Lance is impressive, and I believe he will play well this season. But, he will be good in 2022 and will only get better over time. That leaves a bleak future for Garoppolo in San Francisco.

Had Garoppolo gone to Houston, where they have a young, injury-prone QB, and he got to play 4-6 games and demonstrate his talent in a new system and a new environment, he would have been primed to get a very large contract in the spring from one of the teams mentioned above who will be looking to find a new signal-caller.

Even if he signed a deal making him the 10th-highest-paid quarterback in the league, he would be looking at anywhere between $33.5-$35 million APY. It is rare for a 31-year-old quarterback who is 33-14 as a starter and in the prime of his career to hit the open market.

Yet, there is no promise he sees the field for even one snap this season, making it incredibly difficult to help bolster his value.

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