Are 49ers Bluffing on Jimmy Garoppolo?

After trading up to the third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, San Francisco is looking to get something back for their former franchise quarterback.

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After trading a haul to the Dolphins for the third pick in the NFL draft, all signs point to the San Francisco 49ers drafting a quarterback on Thursday night.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have job security, a playoff-ready roster, and are bringing in their new franchise quarterback. Everything seems to be falling into place for the Bay Area club. Except for one thing: What are they to do about Jimmy Garoppolo?

A report on Monday from MMQB’s Peter King indicated that the 49ers have lowered their asking price in a trade for the quarterback.

They’re bluffing, and the rest of the league should call them on it. The 49ers have no leverage in the Garoppolo situation. He is untradeable. Here’s why:

The Contract

Jimmy Garoppolo has missed 20 starts since signing a 5-year, $137.5 million contract  back in 2017. And although he took the 49ers to the Super Bowl in his one healthy season, the injury concerns simply aren’t cutting it for San Francisco.

According to NFL Network’s Mike Giardi, the 49ers were previously asking for a first-round pick for the quarterback:

There is no way they’d get a first round pick, and despite showing loyalty to Garoppolo after trading up to the third pick, there’s no way they can justify keeping him in the building. He still has one year left on his deal, and would be owed $25.5 million if he’s on the week one roster. If they cut him however, there would only be $2.8 million in dead money on their salary cap.

There are only a select few teams that could even fit him under the salary cap, one of which is the Jaguars – who will be taking Trevor Lawrence on Thursday. No club should take on Garoppolo’s contract when they can wait for him to be cut and re-negotiate.

The No-Trade Clause

During San Francisco’s pre-draft press conference, Kyle Shanahan said he can’t guarantee Garoppolo will be on the roster come Sunday – hinting that a trade for the quarterback could be imminent.

This will be challenging however, as Jimmy ultimately controls where he goes due to the no-trade clause that’s baked into his contract.

Garoppolo likely isn’t going to see the $25.5 million that he’s owed this year. Even if a team wanted him to bring him in as a backup, they’re not going to pay that kind of money for him to hold a clipboard. The contract isn’t guaranteed, and even if they’d be willing to take it on, they can only do so if Jimmy approves of it.

The Market

The Patriots are the only team that makes sense for Garoppolo. The Broncos traded for veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgwater on Wednesday, and the Bears already have two veterans in their QB room. The only place Jimmy would be the unquestioned starter is in New England.

Garoppolo has been linked to Patriots ever since Tom Brady left for Tampa Bay last offseason. More rumors have started to swirl since the 49ers traded up on March 26th.

The Patriots should just wait this thing out. With rumors of Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields potentially falling down draft boards, (who I think could fit in Foxboro, click for more), they should play that hand before worrying about Garoppolo.

San Francisco has no choice but to cut him, and get nothing in return.