Will the 49ers cut Jimmy Garoppolo, too?

Las Vegas Raiders v San Francisco 49ers
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It won’t happen today. It may not happen at all. At some point between now and the first weekend of the regular season, it could happen.

New England’s stunning decision to release 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton underscores the possibility that, potentially, San Francisco could release Jimmy Garoppolo.

New England cut Cam because: (1) rookie Mac Jones won the starting job; and (2) it didn’t make sense to keep Cam around as the backup, due in large part to the extent to which he had become a leader on the team. His presence could have created (wait for it) a schism in the locker room.

If San Francisco would do it, it would happen because: (1) rookie Trey Lance wins the starting job; (2) the team finds no trade partner for Garoppolo; and (3) it doesn’t make sense to pay Garoppolo a salary of $24.1 million in 2021.

The 49ers previously have shrugged at Garoppolo’s high salary as part of the overall investment in Lance. That could be true. It also could be posturing, aimed at making other teams believe that Garoppolo’s release isn’t an inevitability. That if you want him, you’ll have to trade for him.

It’s unlikely that anyone would trade for Garoppolo without the player taking a significant pay cut. If he’s released, he’ll definitely take a pay cut. As a free agent, no one would pay him a $24.1 million salary for 2021.

The difference between the two situations starts with the fact that Lance has to win the job. Opportunities have emerged for him to do so, but he hasn’t done it. Now, he’s out for roughly another week with a chip in the index finger of his throwing hand. Nothing can happen until the 49ers are certain that Lance would be ready to go.

It doesn’t have to happen until, basically, the day before the first game of the regular season. At that point, the Week One rosters lock and Garoppolo’s base salary becomes guaranteed, as a practical matter, by the termination pay provision of the labor deal.

Another possibility exists. The 49ers could issue an ultimatum to Garoppolo. Take less or be released. At this point, Garoppolo would have a hard time finding a significant salary elsewhere. If he’s offered $10 million to $15 million, perhaps with a chance to make back the rest of it through playing time and incentives, maybe he will take it.

We’ll see whether any of it happens. However, if the 49ers have any faith in Lance as the potential starter, it makes plenty of sense to squeeze Garoppolo to take a lot less. It possibly makes sense to remove the Band-Aid in one motion, just as the Patriots did on Tuesday.

The fact that the Patriots did what the did serves as a reminder that, in the NFL, anything can happen. With San Francisco and Garoppolo, something could still happen.

19 responses to “Will the 49ers cut Jimmy Garoppolo, too?

  1. Zero chance. This is a 12 win team minimum with Jimmy and a 3 win team without him.

  2. If they force Jimmy into an ultimatium-type deal I think he would balk and take the cut. I see a team like the Vikings being interested – especially with a non-vaccinated QB starting for the team. Jimmy is better than many other “starters” out there right now and he’s a good boy with no pending lawsuits or criminal charges so he’d be fine.

  3. The pay levels of Newton and Garoppolo make it pointless to compare the two situations. From the preseason games, it sure looks like the 49ers plan to play both Garoppolo and Lance. Garoppolo is doing his best be a good team player, so I doubt there will be locker-room issues. Lance looks good, but maybe not ready to be the #1 just yet. If I’m the 49ers, I’m not going to be in a huge rush to get rid of the guy who so recently took the team to the Super Bowl.

  4. Time for a serious question.

    This site is so good, but why is there always a target on Garoppolo? I don’t understand it. Can someone, anyone, explain that to me?

    Florio? Bueller? Maverick? Goose? Maybe a MENSA member? I just need help with answering that question.

  5. If 9ers press JimmyG I’d call their bluff. It means they need him and Lance isn’t ready. So why help them? OK he mightn’t expect $24M elsewhere but $10 or $15? easily. So screw ’em.

  6. What are you guys smoking? Jimmy G is and should be barely in the league. Who sees a successful NFL starter in him?

    You gotta be kidding me!

  7. The fact that SF burned 3 1st round picks to move up and draft Jimmy G’s replacement tells you exactly what they think of him. If not for Trey Lance’s finger issue he’d be gone already.

  8. SCam was cut because 1: He isn’t very good and 2: He isn’t very good. End of discussion. Garoppolo however IS good enough to be a starter in the NFL and unlikely to be cut anytime soon. 0

  9. Did I miss a rule change? Isn’t Jimmy G considered a vested veteran? Doesn’t that make his base salary guaranteed now?

  10. I love that the 49ers decided making Jimmy G the highest paid qb after just 5 games and now he’s on the chopping block. Genius talent eval there. Sports is the only true reality TV there is- lol

  11. Jimmy G is not better than starters out there and never has been. He is a backup level QB who is injury prone. I would venture to say he is not better than at least 4 backups right now. He was over paid when they signed him and they have wanted out since. As for Newton. He has not been a starter level QB for 4 years. Even when he was not injured.

  12. 1-I believe 49’ers organization will be classy with Jimmy G…. 2-but reality is what it is and TRUE MARKET VALUE for Jimmy G with 1 wk before opener is Not a single team in the NFL would give him 10 mil. not Houston/ Detroit/ Minny/ Wash/ Pitt/ Car/ Denver etc.. 3- I can very easily expect SF to offer 8 mil + incentives and when agent says F.U….then all SF top brass + owner have a meeting with agent to then come in at $10 mil + chance to make all of it back (other $15 mil) based on snap count….. that way Jimmy gets way above MARKET and can feel sort of good (kind of after he realizes that’s way better than he can get) in $10 mil guaranteed + something and SF owner puts $$ in his pocket… congratulates the GM for signing that original (fine details) contract several yrs ago and coach Shanahan is free to use who he wants when he wants to win/ develop

  13. BTW .. Great insight info here on Jimmy G. (makes perfect sense) especially for those in certain 2 QB or Superflex Fantasy Leagues… it means Sir Lance will play Alot

  14. This could be the worst comparison of all times. Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers to a safe lead in the super bowl 2 years ago. It seemed like winning was a sure thing. He hasn’t been able to stay healthy, so they drafted a QB. As long as Jimmy stays healthy, he’s a proven super bowl contender. It would take an injury to get him off the field. Cam Newton was never in the Patriots’ long term plans. I think they signed him last year to take away the headlines when they got caught cheating again, and it worked. Most people have no idea what I’m talking about. Then, when they used Cam last year as a battering ram, it was obvious he wasn’t their long term solution. The QB position at the NFL level is 95% mental. There’s no way Trey Lance understands how to run the 49ers offense as well as Jimmy, but Mac Jones might understand the Patriots offense as well as any of their QB’s. Bill Belichick, having won 6 super bowls with the most un-athletic QB of all times, understands what it takes to succeed in the NFL at the QB position.

  15. Dream on. Trey Lance is no Mac Jones. Lance completed around 50% of his passes in the preseason. A local sports reporter touted his completion yardage while ignoring his dismal completion percentage and also the fact that he had a lot more pass attempts. He was trying to sell the idea that Lance would be the starter in the first game of the season. People’s bias is so obvious. The chance of the 49ers releasing Jimmy G. is about the same as Tampa Bay releasing Tom Brady.

  16. Kyle Shanahan has 1 solitary winning season as head coach. Jimmy G. was the starter for all 16 games in that season. Shanahan is underwater as head coach when Jimmy G. is not the starter. Can he win with Trey Lance? Does he think that he can win the Super Bowl with Trey Lance, a rookie who has never played a single regular season game, and who has a pass completion percentage way inferior to those of Trevor Lawrence, Mac Jones and Zach Wilson in the preseason? In fact the average pass completion percentage for all NFL QB is around 10% higher than that of Trey Lance. If Shanahan thinks that he can win a Lombardi in 2021 with Lance as starter, his head coaching job is in trouble. He wasted 3 first round picks on a qb he could have drafted without trading up. And he is going to cut Jimmy G.? That would be nuts. His boss is not stupid. If Kyle Shanahan does not lead his team to the playoffs in 2021, he will not be the head coach of the 49ers in 2022 because it would make him the worst 49er head coach since Mike Singletary. If the 49ers does not make the playoffs in 2021, they will likely be in the market in pursuit of free agent Aaron Rodgers because Trey Lance needs a few seasons to develop into a starting NFL quarterback.

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