There is no indication the 49ers are actively looking to move on from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have said they expect Garoppolo to return as the team’s starter for the 2021 season.
At this point, there is no reason to doubt them.
There is also every reason to believe the one team for which Garoppolo wants to play — above all else — is the 49ers.
Garoppolo is popular among his teammates. He has a good supporting cast. He is in a quarterback-friendly system. And in his one full season, he was the quarterback of a Super Bowl team.
Oh, yeah, he is also well-paid.
There is absolutely no reason for him to think he could find a better situation outside of Santa Clara, outside of Shanahan’s offense.
Garoppolo might not be a bargain at his scheduled pay of $25.5 million (salary and bonuses) for the upcoming season, but the 49ers do not believe he is overpaid, either.
“That's how much they cost,” Shanahan said on Dec. 28, referring to starting quarterbacks.
Still, it is difficult to imagine Garoppolo receiving a two-year, $51.1 million deal -- the actual money remaining on his 49ers contract — right now if he were suddenly a free agent.
The fact is Garoppolo’s status with the 49ers for this season will remain ripe for speculation until the club restructures his contract. When that time comes, the 49ers can be expected to replace his scheduled salary with an up-front signing bonus to create significant salary-cap space for this offseason.
Until then, though, there will be discussion about whether the 49ers might look to acquire Deshaun Watson or Kirk Cousins — or someone else — and trade Garoppolo.
Garoppolo has a no-trade clause in his contract. If it ever came to that, Garoppolo could veto any deal to any place he considers an undesirable situation.
But exercising his no-trade clause in this hypothetical situation would also mean he would be prepared to rip up the final two years and $51.1 million on his contract and run the risk of accepting a sizable pay cut.
Any team that trades for him would inherit his contract with the 49ers, and he would be all but guaranteed of earning approximately $25 million this season. As a free agent, assuming the 49ers already have a new quarterback and release him, he probably would not get a deal that generous.
Things can change, of course, but right now the most likely scenario is that Jimmy Garoppolo goes nowhere and he earns that money with the 49ers.