Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy Garoppolo Still To Be Available For Trade?

Every time it seems like the 49ers have put the Jimmy Garoppolo story to rest, it takes another twist. GM John Lynch recently made headlines by saying there was “no doubt” Garoppolo would be the team’s 2021 starter, but there apparently is some doubt after all. 

“Many around the league still expect Garoppolo to be available” in trade talks, Ben Volin of the Boston Globe writes. Garoppolo is one of only a handful of players around the league with a no-trade clause, so he’d have to give his approval for any potential destination. Lynch’s comments always rang a bit hollow considering the team reportedly inquired about Matthew Stafford before balking at the asking price.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has also waffled at various points about how committed to Garoppolo he is. Regardless of whether he’s good enough to be their long-term starter, there are also questions about Jimmy G’s health issues, which Lynch acknowledged recently.

He played all 16 games in San Francisco’s 2019 NFC Championship season, but played in only three in 2018 and just six this past year. Although his status as the 49ers’ starter is apparently not as set in stone as we may have believed earlier this week, Volin does say that he thinks the team “would have to be bowled over by a trade offer” to move Garoppolo.

In his latest ‘Football Morning in America’ column, Peter King of NBC Sports wrote that if the 49ers can convince Garoppolo to waive his no-trade clause he could see them being ‘all in’ on Deshaun Watson. Just for entertainment he floated a couple of hypothetical trade scenarios, including a fun one where the Vikings send Kirk Cousins to San Francisco and the 49ers send Garoppolo to Houston in a three-team deal that ends with Watson in Minnesota. Obviously Shanahan and Cousins have a long history dating back to their time in Washington together.

If Garoppolo were to be traded eventually, the Patriots would have to be considered as a potential suitor given that it was Bill Belichick who brought him into the league with a second-round pick back in 2014.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

The Only NFL Players With No-Trade Clauses

It’s fairly common for disgruntled NFL players to give their teams a short list of acceptable trade destinations. However, it’s still quite rare for players to hold contractual veto power over a trade. Currently, there are only eight NFL players with a no-trade clause in their deals, as ESPN.com’s Field Yates tweets

▪️ Drew Brees, QB (Saints)
▪️ Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, OL (Chiefs)
▪️ Jimmy Garoppolo, QB (49ers)
▪️ Jimmy Graham, TE (Bears)
▪️ DeAndre Hopkins, WR (Cardinals)
▪️ Patrick Mahomes, QB (Chiefs)
▪️ Deshaun Watson, QB (Texans)
▪️ Russell Wilson, QB (Seahawks)

The Chiefs, who represent 25% of the list, furnished LDT with a NTC as a part of his contract restructure. Historically, there haven’t been many offensive lineman to secure the clause. However, Duvernay-Tardif had a bit of leverage in 2020 when the Chiefs needed extra cap room. He was scheduled to count for nearly $9MM, $6.45MM of which was comprised of base salary. Instead, he converted some of that money into a signing bonus over the remaining three years and came away with a perk typically reserved for quarterbacks.

Watson and Wilson are among the QBs who can block trades. They’re both putting it to use, albeit in different ways. Watson wants out — even after finally meeting with new head coach David Culley – and he’s steering himself towards a small group of teams, including the Dolphins and Panthers. Wilson, meanwhile, says that he doesn’t want to get traded and doesn’t expect to get traded. But, if the Seahawks do shop him, he wouldn’t mind joining up with the Bears, Cowboys, Saints or Raiders.

Lynch: No Doubt Jimmy Garoppolo Will Be 49ers’ 2021 Starter

In the mix for Matthew Stafford and potentially residing atop Deshaun Watson‘s trade destination list, the 49ers have not exactly been out of the mix in this all-action quarterback offseason. But publicly, their plan remains Jimmy Garoppolo-centric.

John Lynch said, during an appearance on Clark Judge’s Eye Test for Two podcast (via FullPressCoverage.com), he has no doubt “at all” Garoppolo will be under center for the 49ers in Week 1 if he is healthy. This has been the 49ers’ party line for months, but Lynch tripling down amid a frenzied QB trade market is certainly notable.

Kyle Shanahan went from projecting Garoppolo as his 2021 starter to providing a “you can’t say anything with certainty” caveat to that projection in December. The 49ers discussed Stafford with the Lions but are not believed to have submitted an offer, adding some fuel to the plans for a fourth season with Garoppolo as their Week 1 starter being genuine. The 29-year-old passer is signed through 2022 on what is now a year-to-year contract.

Unless the 49ers can land a major upgrade — which Watson would certainly be — the expectation is they will run it back with Garoppolo. But Lynch indicated the team does plan to pursue a backup. Garoppolo has missed 23 games since his September 2018 ACL tear.

When he’s healthy, he’s played at a high level,” Lynch said of Garoppolo. “But we probably have to add someone. We probably need to improve ourselves, so if he’s not there we’re all right … we can win games.”

Nick Mullens is a restricted free agent, but San Francisco’s backup is recovering from elbow surgery that could sideline him until training camp. Since trading for Garoppolo in 2017, the 49ers are 24-9 when Garoppolo starts and 7-19 under Mullens or C.J. Beathard. The latter is a free agent. Non-Dak Prescott free agency this year, as of now, stands to include the likes of Jacoby Brissett, Cam Newton, Jameis Winston, Andy Dalton, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tyrod Taylor and Mitchell Trubisky.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Take ‘Big Swing’ Or Stick With Jimmy Garoppolo?

We haven’t heard a ton about Jimmy Garoppolo since 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan last updated the media in late December. At the time, Shanahan said he believed Jimmy G would be his quarterback next year, but cautioned that “you can’t say anything with certainty.” 

Since then a lot of people have treated it as a foregone conclusion that San Francisco is looking to upgrade, but that’s not necessarily the case. The 49ers “still like” Garoppolo and “believe they can win with him,” Jeremy Fowler of ESPN was told, via Tyler Conway of Bleacher Report. Garoppolo is the presumed 2021 starter for now and Fowler reported that it would “take a big swing, like a Deshaun Watson effect here, to make that change.” In other words, it sounds like the 49ers are either going to make a big splash, or stick with Garoppolo for another year.

That would seemingly rule out any middle-tier veteran or available young guys like Carson Wentz, Sam Darnold, and that bunch. San Francisco reportedly sniffed around Matthew Stafford, but it doesn’t sound like they ever came close to wanting to fork over what the Rams ultimately did. Speaking of Watson, we had heard a couple of days ago from Fowler that the Texans quarterback was interested in playing for Shanahan, and he reiterated that Sunday.

While it sounds like Shanahan and GM John Lynch aren’t going to settle for an uninspiring trade or free agent signing, it’s interesting to wonder whether drafting a passer in the first-round could still be on their agenda as a “big swing.” The 49ers will pick 12th in April.
Fowler seems to think Garoppolo is in decent shape to keep his job, but as we all know a lot can happen between now and the draft.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

AFC East Rumors: Watson, Mariota, Allen

Add veteran NFL reporter Tyler Dunne of GoLongTD.com to the list of writers who have heard that Texans QB Deshaun Watson is not budging on his desire to be traded, and that he continues to ignore every call from Houston brass. Of course, Watson has a no-trade clause that he could use to help dictate where he goes — assuming the Texans give in and deal him, which they have insisted they are not going to do — and we recently heard that the 49ers and Broncos are on his destination list.

Dunne’s source indicates that the Dolphins — who have been considered one of the frontrunners for Watson since trade speculation started to swirl — and the Niners are Watson’s top two preferred clubs. In Dunne’s view, a trade to Miami makes too much sense to not happen, and he believes the ‘Fins and Texans could line up on a deal that sends Watson to South Beach in exchange for the No. 3 and No. 18 overall picks in this year’s draft along with Miami’s 2022 first-rounder.

Now for more rumors from the AFC East:

  • Recent reports have indicated that Raiders QB Marcus Mariota is generating legitimate trade interest, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com believes the Patriots could be in the mix. New England obviously needs a quarterback, and Mariota is attached to a reasonable $10.6MM salary for 2021 and would not cost much to acquire in terms of draft capital. Although he could demand a raise if he is being acquired to serve as a starter, his current salary would not preclude the Pats from continuing to explore other options, like Jimmy Garoppolo — if the the 49ers land a different QB and release Garoppolo — or a collegiate passer.
  • Reiss does not expect the Patriots to make a deal with the division-rival Jets for Gang Green QB Sam Darnold, though what the Jets do with Darnold could certainly have a major impact on New England (for instance, if New York trades Darnold to San Francisco, Garoppolo could become available).
  • The Jets have among the most cap space in the league at just shy of $70MM, and they can easily create even more flexibility, thereby giving them a huge advantage in what could be a buyer’s market given the decreased salary cap. Connor Hughes of The Athletic believes New York will release DE Henry Anderson, which jibes with a report from December. That move will save the club $8.2MM in cap space, and Hughes suggests that guards Greg Van Roten and Alex Lewis might be goners as well (their releases would save $3.4MM and $5.1MM, respectively).
  • Meanwhile the Jets don’t have too many of their own free agents that must be retained. Hughes expects safety Marcus Maye to be re-signed, and he also says OL Pat Elflein — who played well in 2020 after being claimed off waivers from the Vikings — is a logical candidate to return, especially if the team moves on from Van Roten and/or Lewis.
  • Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News does not foresee the Bills laying out major free agent dollars this offseason. Instead, he expects the club to use the majority of its cash on an extension for QB Josh Allen, which means that the Bills will likely allow LB Matt Milano to test the open market — contrary to GM Brandon Beane‘s assertion that a franchise tag could be in play — and will not be in the running for a top pass rusher like Shaquil Barrett or Bud Dupree.

49ers HC Kyle Shanahan Discusses Jimmy Garoppolo’s Future

Jimmy Garoppolo has been limited to only six games in 2020, and with the veteran quarterback accounting for more than $53MM in cap charges in 2021 and 2022 (vs. only $4.2MM in potential dead cap), there have naturally been some questions about whether he’ll stick around San Francisco. Today, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan put the kibosh on rumors.

Shanahan told reporters that he believesJimmy’s going to be our quarterback next year” (via Matt Barrows of The Athletic on Twitter). The head coach was also quick to dismiss Garappolo’s salary, noting that “that’s how much they cost” when asked about the quarterback.

ESPN’s Nick Wagoner (via Twitter) passes along a detailed answer from Shanahan, where the head coach detailed how teams evaluate every position during the offseason.

“You can’t say anything with certainty,” Shanahan said. “You don’t sit here and make promises on anything. When you build a football team, it’s your job to put the best team together year in and year out.

“Now, you look into every avenue and you see if there’ something out there that can get you a ton better. That’s the same answer for every position but look at Jimmy, look what he’s done, look where he’s at financially. We better have a very good answer if you’re going to find something better than that because Jimmy has shown in one year that he’s the guy who can take us to the Super Bowl and I also think that Jimmy is going to get a lot better the more he plays.”

It was only a year ago that Garoppolo had a standout 2019 campaign, although his performance did dip in the postseason (including a Super Bowl loss where he tossed a pair of interceptions). The 49ers went 3-3 in the 29-year-old’s six starts this season, with Garoppolo completing 67.1-percent of his passes for 1,096 yards, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Injury Updates: Goff, Rams, Murray, Cardinals, 49ers, Mixon, Bengals, Watkins, Chiefs, Edelman, Patriots

Things have gotten ugly for Jared Goff and the Rams’ offense the last couple of weeks, with back to back losses to the Jets and Seahawks in which Goff played poorly. Making matters worse, Los Angeles’ quarterback dislocated and broke his thumb during the loss to Seattle. It looks like there are a wide range of outcomes moving forward, with everything from Goff playing this Sunday to being out for the remainder of the season being on the table. Goff will require surgery on the thumb at some point but he’s hoping to push it back until after the season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports (Twitter video link).

Rapsheet says that Goff is “adamant” about pushing to play in Week 17 and that he at least has a “shot” to be under center. If the Bears lose to the Packers on Sunday then the Rams are in the playoffs no matter what, but if Chicago beats Green Bay then the Rams will need to beat the Cardinals to get in. It sounds like Goff is going to try to push through and suit up for the playoffs even if he isn’t able to be out there on Sunday. Goff is meeting with specialist Dr. Steven Shin today, the same doctor who treated Drew Brees‘ thumb injury last year, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Obviously Brees missed a handful of games with that injury last year, although hopefully for the Rams this isn’t as severe. If Goff is forced to miss the game against Arizona, it’ll mean the first regular season NFL action for former Wake Forest and AAF star John Wolford.

Here are more health issues from around the league entering the final week of the season:

  • Goff isn’t the only banged up quarterback in this pivotal game. Kyler Murray has already dealt with a lingering shoulder injury this season, and he also hurt his leg at the end of Arizona’s Week 16 loss to San Francisco. Speaking to the media Monday head coach Kliff Kingsbury was vague, only deeming it a “lower leg” injury and saying they won’t put Murray out there if he can’t be effective. If the Cards win on Sunday, they’re in. If they don’t, they’re out. In a game of this magnitude, you have to figure Murray is going to play if it’s at all possible, but right now Kingsbury is saying it’s up in the air. This will be a situation to monitor closely, but either way it sounds like Murray is going to be at less than 100 percent against Aaron Donald and co.
  • One last dispatch from the NFC West. The 49ers picked up an upset of the Cardinals, but their injury-plagued season continued. They dropped at least two more starters, as rookie receiver Brandon Aiyuk and left tackle Trent Williams both won’t play in Week 17 due to injuries they suffered against Arizona, Kyle Shanahan said Monday. Shanahan also said he’d be shocked if Jimmy Garoppolo plays this weekend, meaning C.J. Beathard should get another crack at it. Aiyuk has flashed a lot of promise, and 49ers fans have to be excited about his 2021 potential. It’s possible we’ve seen Garoppolo play his last snap as a 49er.
  • Joe Mixon‘s 2020 campaign is officially in the books. The Bengals running back won’t play this weekend, head coach Zac Taylor confirmed Monday. Mixon hasn’t played since all the way back in Week 6 due to a foot injury, but the team kept insisting he was only week to week this whole time. Mixon signed a four-year, $48MM extension back in September, so he’s in Cincy for the long-haul.
  • Chiefs fans can breathe a little easier. Receiver Sammy Watkins went down with a calf injury yesterday, but Rapoport tweets it isn’t believed to be major. Given Watkins’ injury history, that’s a big relief. Rapoport writes that Watkins will rest in Week 17, but that there’s a “good chance” he’s back for Kansas City’s first playoff game.
  • Another player whose season, and quite possibly career, is over: Patriots receiver Julian Edelman. Rapoport tweets that Edelman won’t be activated for tonight’s Monday Night Football showdown with the Bills, and that it’s “unlikely” he plays next week either. Edelman is under contract for next season but he’ll turn 35 in May, so it’s entirely fair to wonder whether he’ll end up retiring. The legendary Patriot, who has spent all 12 years of his career in New England, was limited to only six games this year due to a knee injury.

49ers To Shut Down Raheem Mostert, Deebo Samuel; George Kittle Return In Play

Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel will see their injury-marred seasons end early. The 49ers are shutting down both players with two games to go, Kyle Shanahan said (via the San Jose Mercury News’ Cam Inman).

Both ran into multiple injuries this year, causing the second-year starters to miss significant time in what became a widespread injury-plagued 49ers season. Each player is under contract beyond this season, with Samuel’s rookie deal running through 2022 and Mostert’s pact expiring after next season.

The 49ers, however, are not opting to shut down all their injured skill-position talents. George Kittle has returned to practice, and Inman notes the All-Pro tight end is on pace to return against the Cardinals. Kittle, who has not played since suffering a foot fracture Nov. 1, would catch passes from his former college quarterback if he does return. The 49ers will start Iowa alum C.J. Beathard over Nick Mullens on Saturday.

A 2017 third-round pick, Beathard has worked as San Francisco’s third-string quarterback for much of his NFL tenure. His contract expires at season’s end. Mullens suffered what is believed to be ligament damage in his elbow against the Cowboys, Inman notes, and will likely need Tommy John surgery. He is due to be a restricted free agent in March.

Kittle will only play if he’s 100%, per Shanahan, who noted the 49ers will not shut down their star tight end if he is fully healthy — despite having been eliminated from playoff contention last week.

Mostert left Sunday’s game because of ankle trouble. The special-teamer-turned-RB1 sustained an MCL sprain in September and injured his ankle upon returning in October. Mostert, 28, was not able to surmount the latter malady. Mostert did end a second straight season averaging at least 5.0 yards per carry, however, though he only managed 104 totes this season. Samuel sustained a foot fracture before training camp but was able to return fairly early in the season. However, a hamstring injury hampered Samuel shortly after he returned. The 2019 second-round pick caught 33 passes for 391 yards over seven games this season.

Jimmy Garoppolo will resume practicing this week, but Shanahan said (via Inman) he would be surprised if doctors deem San Francisco’s QB1 100%. It is likely Beathard will handle the 49ers’ final two starts at quarterback. A high ankle sprain sidelined Garoppolo at multiple junctures this season. He played in just six games. Shanahan said last month the plan is for Garoppolo to return as the team’s starter in 2021, though the franchise will surely explore other options this offseason. Two years remain on Garoppolo’s contract, one the 49ers can move without incurring much dead money.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NFC West Notes: Cardinals, Whitworth, Garoppolo

Cardinals NT Corey Peters is out for the season due to a torn patellar tendon, and as he is in the final year of his contract with Arizona, it’s possible he has already played his last game with the team. But if he has it his way, that won’t be the case.

The 32-year-old said that he would love to spend the rest of his career with the Cardinals, as Mason Kern of SI.com writes, and assuming the price is right, it would make sense for GM Steve Keim to keep him. Peters was named Arizona’s nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year award yesterday, and he has been a team captain for three years running. In addition to his stout defense against the run, he is a highly-respected spiritual and emotional leader, so look for the two sides to discuss a reunion this offseason.

Now for more from the NFC West:

  • Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald says he feels much better after testing positive for COVID-19 late last month, though he has yet to regain his senses of taste and smell (Twitter link via Kimberley A. Martin of ESPN.com). Fitz also says he lost nine pounds during his bout with the coronavirus, but he did come off the reserve/COVID-19 list on Tuesday, and as Darren Urban of the team’s official website tweets, the 37-year-old will suit up against the Giants this weekend.
  • After sinking 88.6% of his field goal tries in 2019, Cardinals kicker Zane Gonzalez has converted just 72.7% of his attempts this year, prompting some to wonder if the team will seek another option. But Keim will keep rolling with Gonzalez, saying, “I know people question Zane but Zane has a lot of talent. … I think Zane will work through the tough times” (Twitter link via Urban). Gonzalez is playing out the season on his RFA tender, and this is not how he wanted to enter his first offseason as an unrestricted free agent.
  • The Rams suddenly find themselves atop the NFC West, and they could be getting their left tackle back soon. Andrew Whitworth has been on the shelf since the middle of November with a torn MCL and PCL, but Jay Glazer of FOX Sports says (via Twitter) that the veteran OT, who turns 39 tomorrow, will test out the knee next week. Whitworth is apparently way ahead of schedule and could return by the end of the regular season.
  • Jimmy Garoppolo‘s future with the 49ers is in some doubt, even though HC Kyle Shanahan recently said he expects the dashing signal-caller to be the team’s starter in 2021. That may well be the case, but Matt Barrows of The Athletic believes San Francisco will select a QB in next year’s draft, perhaps as high as the second round. There could be a few intriguing prospects available at that point that Shanahan may be able to turn into a viable starter at the professional level. Players like Florida’s Kyle Trask or Alabama’s Mac Jones could both be options.
  • It has now been over a year since Seahawks RB Rashaad Penny last suited up for a game, but as John Boyle of the team’s official website notes, Penny returned to practice this week. Head coach Pete Carroll says he’s excited about what he has seen from Penny in practice (Twitter link via 710 ESPN Seattle), and the ‘Hawks could certainly use a boost to an RB corps that has dealt with a number of injuries this season. Per Boyle, CB Quinton Dunbar, who has been on IR for a few weeks with a knee injury, has also returned to practice.
  • The Seahawks signed QB Alex McGough to their practice squad yesterday, and as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets, the team has put its other PS signal-caller, Danny Etling, in a bubble. The Broncos, of course, recently had to play a game with a practice squad wide receiver at QB because the rest of their quarterbacks were deemed high-risk close contacts of Jeff Driskel, who had tested positive. The Seahawks are keeping Etling in a bubble to guard against just such a situation.

Latest On 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle

We might not see Jimmy Garoppolo or George Kittle back on the field this year. After last night’s loss to the Bills, Kyle Shanahan indicated that both players have a long way to go as they work to bounce back from injury.

Those guys are working their tails off right now,” Shanahan said (via Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee). “But they’re still part of the rehab, just trying to get back and be a part of this, but it’s not anytime soon right now.”

GM John Lynch was a little more optimistic, saying he’s “hopeful” that Garoppolo and Kittle will be back by season’s end (Twitter link via Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area).

The Niners are still technically in the playoff mix, but their odds have dwindled significantly. At 5-7, the reigning NFC champs will need wins against the Washington Football Team, Cowboys, Cardinals, and Seahawks. The double dose of NFC East opponents should help, but if San Francisco should fall completely out of contention, it wouldn’t make sense for the club to rush key players back from injury.

Injuries have ravaged the Niners on both sides of the ball this year. On the plus side, they have returned star cornerback Richard Sherman, though he’s not so sure about his future beyond 2020.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.