Kyle Shanahan gave his strongest statement to date on the future of Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers when he spoke to the media during organized team activities on Tuesday.
“Nothing’s changed since the surgery, we knew where we were at before that, and then he got the surgery, so everything went on hold,” Shanahan said. “I expect him at some time, most likely to be traded, but who knows. It’s not a guarantee and it’s been exactly on hold when that happened. And when he is healthy, we’ll see what happens.”
There you have it. It’s safe to say that Shanahan doesn’t expect Garoppolo to compete for the starting job with Trey Lance if he doesn’t even expect him to be on the team.
This of course leads to a whole host of follow up questions: Who are the 49ers going to trade Garoppolo to? Is there even a market? If there is, what could they get back? Would they have to eat some of his $24.2 million salary? If they can’t trade him, would they release him?
49ers beat writer Chris Biderman did his best to break down the situation when he joined Papa & Lund on Thursday. Biderman believes that while many possibilities remain on the table, a good reference for how the 49ers will approach the situation is how the Patriots dealt with the Cam Newton-Mac Jones QB battle last offseason.
“You look at what Bill Belichick did last year when he had Cam Newton in training camp after drafting Mac Jones,” Biderman said on KNBR. “He pretty much decided ‘Hey, we’re just going to ride with Mac Jones and give him the development he needs and he’ll be unencumbered by a veteran.’ Which led to them releasing Cam Newton.
“I kind of see the 49ers having a similar mindset with Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo this year. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to have Jimmy Garoppolo around particularly on that dollar amount. It’s just going to be can he get healthy enough to impress teams who might be in the quarterback market, and/or is there going to be a scenario where a team needs another quarterback because there’s an injury elsewhere.”
The Patriots signed Newton to a one-year deal worth $13.6 million last offseason, before ultimately drafting Mac Jones at the end of the first round. The two quarterbacks competed in training camp, but once it became clear that Jones was the better player, the Pats elected to release Newton instead of keeping him around.
The difference in the 49ers situation is that they don’t appear to have any interest in letting Garoppolo compete for the starting job.
“Salary cap money rolls over, and Paraag Marathe and how shrewd he is typically with contracts, I have a very hard time envisioning a scenario where Paraag Marathe is okay with the 49ers paying Jimmy Garoppolo $24 million this year and carrying him on the roster,” Biderman said. “I know John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have said the team is willing to do that, but given the way they are talking about it, it just doesn’t make sense to pay Jimmy Garoppolo any substantial amount of money. And even if he is on the team as a backup, in my opinion there is no way they should pay him $24 million to be Trey Lance’s backup, let alone all the distractions and controversy that could create.
“Trey Lance is not going to have a perfect season in his first full season as a starter. He’s probably going to have bad games, and if Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the roster there’s going to be all sorts of discussion. ‘Oh should you go to Jimmy. Should Trey Lance spend more time on the bench to get seasoning?’ I think the 49ers want to avoid that.”
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