The 49ers continue to work through the offseason program without quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. They’re waiting for him to get healthy. When he’s healthy, they expect something to materialize that currently doesn’t exist.
A trade market.
Look carefully at what coach Kyle Shanahan said on Tuesday about Garoppolo: “Nothing’s changed since the [shoulder] surgery, we knew where we were at before that, and then he got the surgery, so everything went on hold. I expect him at some time, most likely to be traded, but who knows? It’s not a guarantee and it’s been exactly on hold when that happened. And when he is healthy, we’ll see what happens.”
Twice in that comment, Shanahan said it’s “on hold.” This implies there’s another party holding. That there’s another team that was ready to trade for Garoppolo before he underwent shoulder surgery — and that the team has yet to otherwise address its needs at the position.
There aren’t many teams that would fit this description. The list potentially begins and ends with the Panthers. Maybe the Texans are waiting for a chance to get Garoppolo. Beyond those two teams, who else is there? (Surely, the 49ers wouldn’t trade him to Seattle.)
Regardless of whether there’s a team waiting to trade for Garoppolo (who is due to make $25 million in the final year of his contract), Shanahan used the term “most likely.” That’s a high degree of confidence. If a trade doesn’t materialize, then what?
Will they cut him? When? After Trey Lance proves he’s ready to start and the 49ers try to squeeze Garoppolo to take less money to stay as the backup? At that point, it may be too late for Garoppolo to find another option.
That’s why the sooner something happens, the better for Garoppolo. As previously explained, he needs to ditch the nice-guy routine. They seem to be using his good nature again him, knowing that he won’t upset the applecart, even if the apples already should be all over the ground.
So where will it go from here? First, Garoppolo has to get healthy. After that, it becomes simple. Trade him. Keep him. Cut him.
Garoppolo’s main objective should be to avoid the worst-case scenario — they’ll keep him until just before his salary becomes guaranteed, and they’ll cut him at a time when it becomes difficult if not impossible to find another job for 2022. At some point, he needs to stand up and make sure that doesn’t happen.