Sports Will the 49ers cut Jimmy Garoppolo if they can't trade him? 'I don't know what I'll do,' says Kyle Shanahan

02:11  25 august  2022
02:11  25 august  2022 Source:   sportingnews.com

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The 49ers have been looking to trade Jimmy Garoppolo since the early stages of the 2022 NFL offseason.

  Will the 49ers cut Jimmy Garoppolo if they can't trade him? 'I don't know what I'll do,' says Kyle Shanahan © Provided by Sporting News

To date, they have not found a suitor. As such, the veteran has remained on the San Francisco roster with the franchise largely staying mum about his future.

However, the NFL's 53-man roster deadline is rapidly approaching, so the 49ers will soon be forced to make a decision about their former starting quarterback. Will they cut Garoppolo if they can't trade him, or will they keep him around to back up Trey Lance?

Certainly, there are pros to keeping Garoppolo around as an insurance policy behind the inexperienced Lance. That said, any decision to keep Garoppolo wouldn't be simple, as the cost of doing so would be hefty.

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Plus, the 49ers would have to make sure Jimmy G is on board with being a backup. Additionally, the team would need to ensure that its relationship with the 30-year-old quarterback isn't strained after an offseason of uncertainty.

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So, what will the 49ers do if they can't trade Jimmy Garoppolo? Here's a breakdown of the team's decision to cut or keep him as time winds down on a potential trade.

Will the 49ers cut Jimmy Garoppolo?

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was asked about Garoppolo's future at a news conference on Tuesday. Specifically, he was asked whether Garoppolo would be released on Aug. 30 if the team is unable to trade him.

Predictably, Shanahan was mum about his plans.

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"I don't know what I'll do that day," Shanahan told reporters. "[I'll] probably decide when it comes."

Shanahan's vague response was hardly a surprise. It's not like he could come out and say that San Francisco is definitely cutting Garoppolo if it can't trade him; that would destroy the team's leverage in any remaining trade talks over the next week.

Of course, it's notable that Shanahan didn't say that the team would keep Garoppolo if no deal comes to fruition. That means that the team is at least considering parting with the veteran passer even if it doesn't get an asset in exchange for him.

Why? Well, if the 49ers weren't going to release Garoppolo, then Shanahan would just come out and say it; that could spur some high-end trade offers from quarterback-needy teams.

So, no matter how you interpret Shanahan's statement, he left questions about Garoppolo's future largely unanswered.

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"I think any scenario is possible," he said.

Why the 49ers could cut Jimmy Garoppolo

There are a multitude of reasons that the 49ers could cut Garoppolo. They are largely unrelated to his play at quarterback, as he has been a capable — albeit unspectacular — starter for the team.

Below are the major reasons that the 49ers could cut Garoppolo instead of keeping him as a backup if no trade occurs.

Jimmy Garoppolo's contract

Garoppolo has just one year left on his contract, but he is set to make a lot during the 2022 NFL season. The one year remaining on his deal comes with a cap hit of $26.95 million, and San Francisco is set to pay him $25.6 million in cash this season.

However, just $2 million of Garoppolo's contract for 2022 is guaranteed. As such, the 49ers could release him to create $24.95 million in cap space. That would afford the team plenty of resources to continue to build up its resources around Lance.

Because Lance is on a rookie contract, the 49ers can afford to keep Garoppolo despite him being the 15th-highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. But if the team is keeping an eye on the future, it could view that cap space as more valuable than the veteran backup.

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Pressure on Trey Lance

Teams with young quarterbacks face a tricky spot when choosing a backup quarterback. On the one hand, they want a proven veteran who can both step in as a solid starter and help mentor the young quarterback.

On the other hand, if your backup quarterback is too good or has a strong command of the locker room, it can create an uncomfortable dynamic with the young starter. That's one of the reasons that the Patriots released Cam Newton before the start of last season; they felt the well-respected Newton would hinder Mac Jones' ability to lead the team.

Lance and Garoppolo could potentially have more of a Patrick Mahomes and Alex Smith-type partnership, but it's not guaranteed. And the last thing that the 49ers want in Lance's first season as a starter is to feel like someone is breathing down his neck and ready to pounce on the starting job the minute he makes a mistake.

49ers QB depth chart

It's also worth noting that the 49ers will be settled at the quarterback position if Garoppolo leaves. They have an experienced backup behind Lance already in Nate Sudfeld and spent a seventh-round pick on Brock Purdy in the 2022 NFL Draft.

Sudfeld and Purdy would be fine fill-ins behind Lance. Neither would be as good as Garoppolo, but they are much cheaper and Sudfeld would at least be able to keep the 49ers competitive if Lance has to miss time.

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Rank Player
1 Trey Lance
2 Jimmy Garoppolo
3 Nate Sudfeld
4 Brock Purdy

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Jimmy Garoppolo landing spots

Most quarterback battles across the NFL are on the verge of being settled, so there aren't as many obvious landing spots for Garoppolo. Still, there are a handful of teams that stand out as potentially solid fits for the veteran quarterback.

Below is a breakdown of where Garoppolo might land whether it's via trade or if he's released.

Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks have long been connected to Garoppolo but have faced the obstacle of being in the same division as the 49ers. San Francisco may be reluctant to trade Garoppolo to Seattle, but if that's their best, or only, option, they could agree to a deal.

Seattle is currently planning to start either Geno Smith or Drew Lock at quarterback, and could end up playing both. Suffice to say that Garoppolo is an upgrade over both of them.

Cleveland Browns

The Browns are without Deshaun Watson for the first 11 games of the season, but they seem comfortable rolling with Jacoby Brissett as their starter. That said, they don't have a lot behind Brissett, as Josh Dobbs and Josh Rosen are competing for the primary backup job.

Garoppolo would be an upgrade at the backup position for the Browns and could eventually overtake Brissett as the starter if Brissett struggles to open the season. Garoppolo and Brissett were in a quarterback room together with the Patriots where Garoppolo was ahead of the 29-year-old, so he would have a chance to do that again.

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It's also notable that the Browns have $49.2 million in cap space. That would allow them to easily absorb Garoppolo's contract without having to restructure any deals or cut players.

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Carolina Panthers

Baker Mayfield won the Panthers' starting job and he should be trustworthy enough to get them through the season. But behind him? That's a different story.

Sam Darnold has been mediocre at best during his NFL career while PJ Walker has flashed upside but doesn't have consistent accuracy. Rookie Matt Corral had the most upside of the Panthers' potential backups, but he is out for the year with a Lisfranc injury.

Garoppolo would give the Panthers a steady, productive option behind Mayfield and his presence would give them a chance to move on from Darnold if they so desire.

New York Jets

The Jets seem high on Joe Flacco as the backup to Zach Wilson, but their coaching staff is intimately familiar with Garoppolo. Both head coach Robert Saleh and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur worked with him in San Francisco, so if Wilson's recovery from a torn meniscus and bone bruise takes longer than expected, Garoppolo could be an ideal fit.

The Jets probably would only target Garoppolo if he is released or if both Wilson and Flacco are hurt long-term. Either way, don't sleep on New York as a landing spot for Jimmy G.

New England Patriots

Could Garoppolo rejoin Bill Belichick and the Patriots as he looks for a new home? It's at least possible. Mac Jones is entrenched as New England's starter but the backup situation could be improved, at least while fourth-round rookie Bailey Zappe adapts to the NFL game.

The Patriots could replace Brian Hoyer with Garoppolo and ensure that they will be in good shape at that position. Then, the only thing that they would have to figure out is the play-calling.

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Garoppolo remains with 49ers after latest roster cut .
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The San Francisco 49ers went through another round of roster cuts with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo still on the roster. The Niners reduced the active roster from 85 players to 80 on Tuesday without making a move with Garoppolo, their former starter who has spent all training camp working out on his own while San Francisco tries to find a trade partner. The Niners placed cornerback Jason Verrett (knee) on the reserve physically unable to perform list and rookie defensive lineman Kalia Davis (knee) on the reserve non-football injury list. Both players no longer count against the roster and must miss at least the first four weeks.

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