Wednesday has seen a noteworthy, though entirely unsurprising, development in the case of the league’s final starting quarterback in need of a new home. The 49ers have officially given Jimmy Garoppolo permission to seek a trade, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter (on Twitter).
It has been known since last April that San Francisco would hand the No. 1 role to first-rounder Trey Lance no later than his second season in the NFL. A deal sending Garoppolo elsewhere has thus been seen as inevitable throughout a 2022 offseason filled with several major moves at the position. His health has been chief among the reasons a market hasn’t developed, though.
On that point, Schefter adds that Garoppolo has been cleared to return to practice. That news comes one day after the 30-year-old received an encouraging update on his surgically-repaired throwing shoulder. The 49ers will still “exercise caution” for the foreseeable future, though, and Garoppolo wasn’t expected (as recently as yesterday) to be back on the field until next month.
CBS’ Jonathan Jones tweets that there are teams who have “poked around” regarding the former second-rounder’s availability. Not surprisingly, though, none have seriously considered making a move until they know he has recovered in full. With nearly all of the QB moves having long been made, the list of potential suitors is rather short this late in the offseason. The division rival Seahawks have long been connected to at least entertaining the possibility of adding him, but signing him as a free agent after being released would be far more financially feasible.
Garoppolo has one year remaining on his contract, with a non-guaranteed salary of just over $24MM. Seattle wouldn’t be able to absorb his deal without re-working it, something which isn’t true of the Browns. Potentially in need of a veteran for at least part of the 2022 season, Cleveland has ample cap space to bring in Garoppolo, though their interest has been considered tepid at best to date.
Ultimately, today’s news moves the QB one step closer to the inevitable outcome of joining a new team for the second time in his career. How his market develops in the coming weeks will be worth monitoring as the season approaches.