Jimmy Garoppolo’s future with the 49ers remains a hot topic of conversation in NFL circles.
Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio is the latest to offer his opinion on the 49ers' quarterback situation heading into 2021, saying he could see a scenario where San Francisco eventually cuts Garoppolo.
First, they would have to acquire another quarterback, either someone like Mac Jones via the NFL draft or Sam Darnold via trade. At that point, Florio argues, it wouldn’t be too painful for the 49ers to cut Garoppolo loose.
“So here’s my prediction: the 49ers won’t eventually roll the dice with Garoppolo again, not at his current contract,” Florio wrote. “And since they won’t be able to trade the contract, they’ll eventually cut Garoppolo — taking a cap charge of only $2.8 million.
“Because he has no trigger in his contract forcing the 49ers to make an early decision, they can wait to find a replacement before cutting him. Whether that happens via trade (like a Sam Darnold) or free agency or the draft, once they think they have the guy they want, they can get rid of the guy they’ll no longer need.”
According to Over The Cap, Garoppolo has a cap number of $26.4 million this year and $27 million in 2022. That’s in the middle of the pack among NFL quarterbacks, but if the 49ers can’t unload the contract via trade and can secure another arm, Florio’s logic makes sense.
For what it's worth, Darnold carries a cap hit of about $9.79 million next season. When you couple that with the $2.8 million in dead money the 49ers would owe Garoppolo when cut or traded, they could save about $13.81 million with this move. But then you would have to factor in any other trade demands the New York Jets would ask in return for Darnold.
Still, it would be a risky proposition as laid out by Florio. Garoppolo’s injury history is certainly noteworthy, but starting any rookie under center is a risk and Darnold is something of a wild card himself. Not exactly pick your poison, but more like pick your question mark.
The 49ers front office will continue to be under the microscope until the NFL draft, which will be held on April 29 to May 1, or it makes a trade for another veteran QB.