When it comes to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, the 49ers have a handful of nothing. That doesn’t stop them from bluffing.
Owner Jed York recently suggested that the 49ers would like to keep Garoppolo and his $24.2 million salary, which is fully guaranteed (in practice) at 4 p.m. ET on September 10.
The goal is clear. York wants to dissuade potentially interested teams from thinking that they should just wait and that Garoppolo will eventually be released.
To get him, you have to trade for him. That’s the message.
Of course, that’s only part of the equation. Whoever acts for Garoppolo must also make a financial arrangement with him. No one will pay him $24.2 million except for the kind of desperation that would result from suddenly losing the starting quarterback for the season. So he will have to accept less to facilitate a transaction.
His best option might be to sit and wait.
Would the 49ers allow base pay to be guaranteed by keeping him after Sept. 10? They would keep the option to trade him if/when a starter sustains an injury at the end of the season, through the Tuesday after week eight. (He would also become a potential insurance policy in case starter Trey Lance gets injured. Assuming Garoppolo will answer any phone calls or texts from the team.)
Reasonable argument has been made for Garoppolo accepting less money to land with a new team and performing well enough to make a solid deal in free agency. The counter is simple. Why refuse the chance to make $24.2 million by not playing? In 2022 he can’t do much on the pitch to improve his position for 2023. When we last saw him, he took the 49ers to the brink of the Super Bowl. A year off didn’t hurt Deshaun Watson. Why would it hurt Garoppolo?
So if the 49ers are willing to continue this trip to a nonexistent home in the Hamptons with two solariums and horses named Snoopy and Prickly Pete after September 10, Garoppolo would be happy to come along. And at that point, he should refuse to take a penny less than $24.2 million to facilitate a transaction.