Jimmy Garoppolo continues to practice on the sideline as the 49ers front office continues to seek a trade for the veteran QB. However, assuming a trade doesn’t materialize, the 49ers may be willing to wait until the last second to move on from their former starter. Per Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area, the 49ers may wait to release Garoppolo to prevent him from acclimating with a new team…particularly the Seahawks.
Garoppolo’s contract doesn’t become guaranteed unless he’s on the roster for the first game of the 2022 campaign. As a result, the 49ers could truly wait until the Tuesday before their season opener to release the QB, allowing the organization to create an immediate cap savings of $25.55MM. If they release Garoppolo between September 6 and September 10, they’d owe him a game check worth $1.34MM, which is still a minor fee to prevent him from immediately going to, say, a division rival.
As Barrows notes, the last thing the 49ers want to do is release Garoppolo, watch him sign with the Seahawks, and allow him to “get acclimated and become the starter early in the season.” For what it’s worth, the 49ers play the Seahawks in Week 2. Assuming Garoppolo is released before Week 1, there would still be a week for the QB to prepare for a start with Seattle. However, in this scenario, there’s a better chance Seattle rolls out one of Geno Smith or Drew Lock for that division showdown.
If a deal doesn’t materialize, could the 49ers look to rework Garoppolo’s contract instead of cutting him? Unlikely, according to Matt Barrows of The Athletic, who could only envision the 49ers committing to the QB if Trey Lance or Nate Sudfeld suffer an injury. Garoppolo has one year remaining on his contract, with a non-guaranteed salary of just over $24MM.
While it isn’t much of a surprise, it sounds like the quarterback has mentally moved on from San Francisco. According Barrows, Garoppolo was offered the chance by the 49ers to attend meetings with his fellow QBs, but he declined. Throughout this ordeal, there haven’t been any hints of tension between the two sides, and Garoppolo’s decision to stay away from meetings makes sense when he could better spend his time physically preparing for the upcoming season.