After handing the starting quarterback spot to Trey Lance, the San Francisco 49ersdid something few expected them to do.
Instead of trading or releasing Jimmy Garoppolo, their previous QB1, they decided to keep him on a restructured contract and make him Lance’s backup.
It is a terrific arrangement for Lance and the 49ers, as it will give them an outstanding safety net and insurance policy should Lance’s growing pains become unbearable at some point this season.
As part of Garoppolo’s restructured contract, he now has a no-trade clause, which will allow him to have veto power over any potential trade he may be included in.
But it doesn’t mean the Niners won’t look to trade him at some point.
In fact, NFL insider Benjamin Allbright thinks San Francisco will get rid of him by the trade deadline, which is set for November 1.
“It’s a situation where, I think if you look at it from the internal optics of it versus actual practicalities of it, as soon as the Niners get the trade package they want, Jimmy’s going to be gone,” Allbright said on 95.7 The Game’s The Morning Roast. “I don’t even expect Jimmy to be there at the end of the season, on that roster, even with that no-trade clause.”
Garoppolo Should Take Pressure Off Lance
Playing quarterback in the NFL is perhaps the toughest job, position-wise, in all of sports, and therefore it is the most pressure-packed job in sports.
A team’s fortunes largely rise or fall on the performance of its QB, and therefore, stability and experience are highly valued.
Lance, who is going into his second pro season, is relatively inexperienced as a signal-caller, as he played in just six contests last year, starting two of them, and in college, he barely played as a freshman and junior.
Even if Lance blossoms this season and becomes a star right away, he is inevitably going to have some rough stretches, not because of who he is, but because that’s simply the reality of life as a young NFL signal-caller.
If or when it happens, the 49ers will have a stable and experienced QB ready to fill in for a minute.
Garoppolo has taken them to the NFC Championship Game in two of the last three seasons, and in the 2019 season, he even got them to the Super Bowl, where they were minutes away from winning their sixth world championship.
He has a career completion percentage of 67.7 percent, a career passer rating of 98.9, and a 31-14 lifetime record as San Francisco’s starter.
After all, Garoppolo was the man who made the team relevant again when he arrived in 2017 after a short but dark period following the departures of Colin Kaepernick, Frank Gore, and Patrick Willis.
A Trade May Be A Good Sign
Let’s say Lance does better than expected, especially early on, and any struggles he goes through are short-lived and mild, while the 49ers jump out to an excellent record.
At that point, if it seems Lance doesn’t need as much of an insurance policy, would the team consider trading Garoppolo for salary cap reasons?
Behind him and Lance, the Niners have Nate Sudfeld, who has played just four games since being drafted in 2016, and Brock Purdy, who looked solid in preseason play but is only entering his rookie season.
If they do trade Garoppolo, it may be akin to removing the training wheels on a child’s bike and trading it in for a high-speed mountain bike right away.
It may mean the team has gained a tremendous amount of confidence and faith in Lance by that point.