Analysis

QB Jimmy Garoppolo Takes Pay Cut, Stays in San Francisco

The San Francisco 49ers are making Jimmy Garoppolo the highest paid backup quarterback in the NFL as the two sides agreed to an incentive-laden, restructured deal on Monday that will keep the QB in San Francisco for another season.

According the multiple reports, the deal is structured such a way that Garoppolo is guaranteed a 2022 salary of $6.5 million and could max out at $15.45 million with incentives and per-game roster bonuses. This is a pay cut for the quarterback, who was due a salary of $24.2 million this season if he stayed on the team. But it’s a deal that should satisfy both sides.

“This sounds like a win-win and a sound decision at all levels,” said TJ McCreight, head of scouting for The 33rd Team. “Now, it is wait and see how (Trey) Lance plays. The big questions in my mind is — and only people within the building know this: What are the dynamics in having Garoppolo on the team?  Is Lance looking over his shoulder? What do their teammates think? These are questions that will play out over time. This will be fun to watch.”

Former NFL General Manager Rick Spielman agreed with McCreight. “if Trey Lance struggles and struggles through those first three or four or five games and those fans start chanting for Jimmy G, how does the team handle that? He [Jimmy] got them all the way to the NFC championship game last year. And if they do make the switch and put Jimmy G back in there, then what does that what does that do to Trey Lance and his confidence and how he’s going to move forward as well? It’s a great situation for Jimmy G. It puts San Francisco in a little bit of a predicament.”

These are all legitimate issues, perhaps none bigger than the effect this will have on Lance, who now is the leader of the team in only his second season. Having an accomplished veteran like Garoppolo behind him could potentially have him watching over his shoulder.

However, the way the deal is structured, the line of demarcation between starter and backup is clearly stated. There should be no confusion now.

“(Garoppolo) won’t play unless Lance gets hurt,” said Joe Banner, former NFL executive and co-founder of The 33rd Team. “It’s a true backup deal and they are totally committed to Lance.”

The new deal is for one year that contains both a no-trade and no-tag clause, NFL Media reported. The quarterback will have the option to leave San Francisco next season.

“From the 49ers’ perspective, they get to keep Garoppolo at a reduced number and have a top level backup with a team that is ready to win right now,” McCreight said. “From Garoppolo’s perspective, I would think he believes he can take the job from Lance, get on the field and play well on a team that he knows very well. If Garoppolo’s objective is to maximize his earning potential and choose his team next offseason, this would allow him to do that.”

The 33rd Team’s Brett Favre said last week that the 49ers would be crazy not to keep Garoppolo on the roster this season, whether he was the starter (Favre’s preference) or Lance’s backup.

“Cutting him or letting him go or asking him to take a pay cut, to me, is absolutely crazy,” Favre said.

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