One of the narratives that has emerged this offseason regarding 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is that he’s a nice guy, so nice that he’ll go along with whatever the team chooses to do with the final year of his current contract. It seems to flow from talking points crafted by the team and repeated by reporters who directly or indirectly on the payroll long enough that it has become accepted as gospel truth.
Never mind the fact that Garopppolo had shoulder surgery on his own, scuttling a trade just as it was about to happen. Or that Garoppolo recently said he wouldn’t wish his experience in 2021 on anyone. The media nevertheless continues to parrot the notion that nice-guy Jimmy will go along to get along, no matter what the team decides to do.
It’s a mistake. The 49ers will always do what’s right for the franchise, invoking “the best interests of the team” as cover for any and all decisions, no matter how ruthless, cold, and dispassionate. For example, it would be in the best interests of the team to squat on Garoppolo through training camp and the preseason, waiting for a trade opportunity to materialize. It then would be in the best interests of the team, if Trey Lance wins the starting job, to approach Garoppolo about taking dramatically less for 2022. If he declines, it would be in the best interests of the team to release him.
That definitely wouldn’t be in the player’s best interests. He’d find himself unemployed as the season approaches, with limited opportunities given that the depth charts will be set in cement by then.
So the player needs to have a strategy, and he needs to be willing to implement it regardless of whether it does or doesn’t seem “nice.” In the NFL, nice guys finish SOL. That’s what Jimmy will be if he just sits back and lets the team make decisions in its best interests without forcing them to consider his along the way.