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Will anyone fall for the 49ers’ new Jimmy Garoppolo bluff?

With Deshaun Watson officially suspended for the first 11 games of the 2022 season, Mike Florio and Myles Simmons debate whether the Browns can stay afloat -- and whether they should make a run at Jimmy Garoppolo.

When it comes to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers have a handful of nothin’. That isn’t stopping them from bluffing.

Owner Jed York recently suggested that the 49ers are happy to keep Garoppolo and his salary of $24.2 million, which becomes fully guaranteed (as a practical matter) at 4:00 p.m. ET on September 10.

The goal is obvious. York wants to dissuade potentially interested teams from thinking that they simply need to wait, and that Garoppolo eventually will be released.

To get him, you’ll have to trade for him. That’s the message.

Of course, that’s only part of the equation. Anyone who trades for Garoppolo must also work out a financial arrangement with him. No one will pay him $24.2 million, barring the kind of desperation that would flow from suddenly losing the starting quarterback for the season. Thus, he’ll need to accept less in order to facilitate a trade.

His best option could be to continue to sit and wait.

Would the 49ers allow the base salary to become guaranteed by keeping him around after September 10? They’d continue to hold the ability to trade him, if/when a starter suffers a season-ending injury, through the Tuesday after Week Eight. (He’d also become a potential insurance policy in the event starter Trey Lance is injured. Assuming Garoppolo will answer any calls or texts from the team.)

A reasonable argument has been made for Garoppolo accepting less money in order to land with a new team and perform well enough to land a solid deal in free agency. The counter is simple. Why refuse the opportunity to make $24.2 million for not playing? There’s not much he can do on the field in 2022 to improve his standing for 2023. When we last saw him, he was taking the 49ers to the brink of the Super Bowl. A year off didn’t hurt Deshaun Watson. Why would it hurt Garoppolo?

So if the 49ers are willing to let this trip toward a non-existent house in the Hamptons with two solariums and horses named Snoopy and Prickly Pete continue beyond September 10, Garoppolo should happily go along for the ride. And at that point he should refuse to take a penny less than $24.2 million to facilitate a trade.