The 49ers’ general manager was asked about the possibility of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo being released. Lynch mentioned that no scenario in which he is cut would be good for anyone, including the team and those it employs.
The “jimmy garoppolo age” is a question that has been asked many times. The San Francisco 49ers GM John Lynch says no scenario in which Garoppolo is released.
PALM BEACH, FLORIDA – Jimmy Garoppolo seemed assured during his Feb. 1 press conference that it would be his last as a member of the San Francisco 49ers, with the assumption that he would be traded and Trey Lance would take over as the team’s starting quarterback.
Garoppolo is still with the 49ers over two months later, and that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. Niners general manager John Lynch said clearly during the NFL owners meetings at The Breakers hotel that he does not anticipate Garoppolo being dismissed.
“I don’t think so,” Lynch responded. “He’s a much better player than I am. Jimmy is either going to play for us or for someone else, I believe. He’s much too talented of a player to be ignored.”
As a result, the only way the Niners can get rid of Garoppolo this summer is via a trade market that has yet to emerge. Lynch provided some insight into this on Monday, as well as possible situations in which Garoppolo might stay in San Francisco beyond 2022.
The main reason Garoppolo hasn’t been dealt yet, according to Lynch, is that the Niners haven’t received a formal offer. Lynch said there was momentum for a contract heading into last month’s scouting combine in Indianapolis, and the Niners had engaged “conceptually” with other clubs about reaching a deal (which could not have been made official until March 16).
Lynch’s rejection of allegations that he was offered two second-round draft selections was implied in that but subsequently confirmed openly. Lynch further said that he has never notified anybody that such an offer was ever made.
While other quarterbacks started to move around the league in trades and signings, Lynch claimed Garoppolo’s right shoulder injury forced clubs to put their pursuit of him on pause.
“I believe the surgery gave the teams that we were closest with pause and they ended up moving in other routes,” Lynch said.
According to Lynch, Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery did not take the Niners off surprise, but both the organization and Garoppolo were working under the assumption that rehab would be enough to bring him back to full health. When that didn’t happen, Garoppolo made the obvious choice to undergo surgery, which he did in early March.
Garoppolo, who has been recuperating in the Los Angeles region, isn’t anticipated to be allowed to throw at full strength until before training camp, according to reports. That means the Niners will almost certainly keep him until at least July.
Many of the teams who were originally interested in Garoppolo have now moved on to other quarterbacks, according to Lynch, who also said that other clubs are still in touch, though those talks are more “fluid.”
Which increases the possibility of Garoppolo returning to the Niners for another season. Garoppolo’s salary cap hit for next season is expected to be $26.95 million. Once Garoppolo is healthy, the Niners will save $25.55 million in cap space by trading (or releasing) him. The 49ers would be liable for a $7.5 million injury guarantee if they released Garoppolo today, albeit that comes with offsets up to the entire amount, meaning that if another club signed him for that amount or more, the Niners would receive that money back on the cap.
Lynch asserted, though, that the Niners would not only be able to retain Garoppolo next season, but also at his current pay.
“At that position, we desire strength,” Lynch added. “To be totally honest, most of our alternatives did not have Jimmy on our books when making a transaction of that size [for Lance]. We have you on our team. However, you must constantly adjust, and due to a sequence of circumstances, it did not work out. But it isn’t always a negative thing. We are optimistic about it. And we’ll figure it out.”
To that end, the Niners had to restructure the contracts of tight end George Kittle and defensive tackle Arik Armstead in order to stay under the salary limit and execute an offseason strategy that included signing Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Charvarius Ward and improving their special teams.
Lynch emphasized that the Niners stuck to their strategy, and that removing Garoppolo from the equation wouldn’t have impacted how they approached free agency.
Lynch said, “Our strategy was our plan, and we were able to achieve all we meant to do in free agency.” “We knew we needed to fill that corner spot… as well as a few other deals we could put together. Whether we had Jimmy or not, that was our strategy.”
Lynch wouldn’t say if Garoppolo’s return would result in a training camp competition or how the quarterback situation would play out if he did return. He did point out, though, that Garoppolo’s injury would keep him out of the offseason program long enough for Lance and veteran Nate Sudfeld to handle all of the reps.
“We’re ecstatic with what Trey has already shown and where we know he’ll go,” Lynch added. “And there’s room for improvement in the offseason program. That is critical. Those ten thousand repetitions. He is in desperate need of them. This offseason, he’ll have that chance.”
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