As the 49ers continue to wait for a trade opportunity to surface for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, a recent report will make it even harder for a team to justify rolling the dice on Garoppolo, with or without an injury to its current starting quarterback.
A recent report seriously questions the extent of Jimmy Garoppolo’s commitment to the cause during the quiet times of the offseason.
An unnamed member of the team’s coaching staff in 2018 told Mike Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle this about Garoppolo, via Peter King’s Football Morning in America: “Once he left that press conference [announcing his new contract] nobody heard from him for weeks and weeks. He didn’t return calls, he didn’t return texts — he basically just vanished. And we were looking at each other going, ‘What just happened?'”
The report from Silver notes that Garoppolo ghosting the 49ers became a regular thing during the ensuing offseasons.
The Collective Bargaining Agreement contains specific rules restricting football meetings and other activities prior to the launch of the offseason program. Surely, however, players (like highly-paid quarterbacks) welcome the intrusion on their quiet time because, for them, most coaches and executives would expect that they have no quiet time. Garoppolo, by all appearances, simply took full advantage of the fact that the 2011 CBA gave players much more of an offseason than they ever before had.
Still, coaches want franchise quarterbacks to be all about the franchise, all the time. It will definitely give someone pause, especially when it comes to making a significant investment of cash and/or trade compensation for Garoppolo.
It all points to an inevitable release of Garoppolo, baring the kind of unexpected development that has yet to transpire. A starting quarterback could still be lost of the season between now and August 30, when rosters reduce to 53. King addresses the question of whether the 49ers would continue to carry Garoppolo on the roster after the cut to 53, and even addresses the possibility that the 49ers would retain Garoppolo beyond 4:00 p.m. ET on September 10, necessarily guaranteeing his 2022 salary of $24.2 million.
Maybe the 49ers and Garoppolo will have a wink-nod understanding that, while they’ll give him weekly game checks in the amount of $1.34 million, he won’t seek the balance of the salary if they cut him before the season ends. If, however, Garoppolo wasn’t willing to honor the wink-nod understanding about the commitment that franchise quarterbacks should make, why would he honor an unenforceable promise to not take every penny that he’s owed if he’s on the roster when the season begins?
In 15 days, we’ll find out whether the 49ers are sufficiently committed to give up a 53-man roster spot for a guy they no longer want on the team. Eleven days after that, we’ll find out whether they’d actually pay him to keep him from waving farewell to San Francisco and saying hello to Seattle.