The further the 49ers go this postseason, the longer the question lingers: Is this really going to be the last season with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm?
Jimmy G isn’t exactly lighting it up — he nearly threw the game away in the second half last week after looking solid in the first — but the 49ers are winning, and have looked like one of the best teams in the NFL for over two months now.
What happens if the 49ers beat the Packers this weekend and punch their ticket to the NFC Title Game? What if they win that and head to the Super Bowl? What if Garoppolo looks good in the process? Could that change the calculation for a QB who is owed $25 million non-guaranteed next season?
According to 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco, probably not. Maiocco went into detail on his reasoning with Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks on Monday, giving three reasons why it is very unlikely Garoppolo is on the team next season. His answer has been edited for clarity and length.
Maiocco on KNBR:
Nobody has told me ‘oh we’re definitely trading him’ but it certainly seems to be an open secret with the team. The reasons that I laid out there, is that it really doesn’t make sense to bring him back next year because you can get something for him this offseason, and it will be the last time you can get something for him. You can trade him…Everyone I’ve talked to thinks the 49ers will be able to trade him and get something for him. If that’s the case, the assumption is Garoppolo would sign the waiver and disregard that no-trade clause.
The fact that you’ll have some ability to recoup some of that draft capital you gave up for Trey Lance. That’s reason number one.
Reason number two is there are some guys who are going to get paid, and Deebo Samuel is at the top of the list. He’s going to get paid, he’s in the same exact boat as George Kittle was two years ago, as Fred Warner was this last offseason. He’s entering the final year of his rookie deal and he’s considerably underpaid. In order to fit a guy like Deebo Samuel into your longterm plans, you have to make cuts to your payroll and the most obvious one is Jimmy Garoppolo and the $25 million hanging right out there. The 49ers can use that to create a long-term plan.
The last one is everything we’re hearing about Trey Lance is he’s closing in on him. He’s ready to go, or he should be ready to go next season. I think seeing him in that Texans game, you could tell he was a much better quarterback than when we saw him earlier in the season. As he continues to grow, you start to make that transition.
I don’t want to rail on Jimmy Garoppolo, but it’s pretty clear that as most quarterbacks are in this league, he’s a much better quarterback, he’s much more effective when they are getting the run game going, the defense is play well, and all of that. I think their vision for that position ultimately is not to have a quarterback who goes along for the ride, it’s to have a quarterback who can do the kinds of things, maybe not to the level of Josh Allen on Saturday night, but maybe somebody who can do those things. Somebody who can effect the team in a positive way with his legs and his arm where there is no corner of the field that he can’t reach with that arm.
At some point when you make that kind of commitment, which they did on March 26, to move up to No. 3 overall, you’re going to have to rip the band-aid off and say ‘okay, now is the time, let’s go.’
They didn’t feel comfortable doing that this year, because they felt Jimmy Garoppolo did give them the best chance of winning football games here in 2021, but I don’t think that will be the case when they break for this season and then come back from the offseason program.
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