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Nothing at the top of the game drives the narrative in the NFL as much as drama. In the past year or so, you’d be hard-pressed to find a team with a more engaging quarterback soap opera than the San Francisco 49ers.
First, the team pledged its future in the 2021 draft to select small school standout Trey Lance. Veteran signalman Jimmy Garoppolo led the 49ers to 10 wins, a wild-card berth and a trip to the NFC championship game. The 49ers then spent much of the spring and summer talking about Lance’s future while buying Garoppolo in the league.
Now the story has taken another turn. On Monday, the Niners agreed to terms of a restructured contract that will keep Garoppolo with the team through 2022. It’s a jaw-dropping development — one that will likely define the 49ers not just this year, but for years to come.
ESPN’s Adam Sheft is one of those who broke the news after months of wondering where Garoppolo would land . As it turns out, he’s not going anywhere.
Per Schefter, the deal could pay Garoppolo $6.5 million to over $15 million, depending on him Number of appearances this season. Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter
COMPARISON UPDATE: Jimmy Garoppolo’s one-year restructuring deal has an underlying value of $6.5 million, fully guaranteed, per source. He also has another $500,000 in roster bonuses. He also has a playtime bonus that could add nearly $9 million more. So, $7 million a year, less than $16 million at most.
This is a surprising move since the 49ers have spent much of the past six months looking for a trade partner for Garoppolo. After all, when San Francisco used three first-round picks When the right was exchanged for Lance, the text was on the wall.
When appearing in
I am an athlete Podcast a few weeks ago (h/t Posey on Kyle Niners Nation), San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan listened to Looks like someone who didn’t expect Garoppolo to be on the roster in Week 1.
“You have to be in this business Hard decisions. The more you know about the salary cap. The more you know how to keep your players. I think Jimmy played well that Super Bowl year. But I also know how good our team is.
They’re young and it’s getting harder and harder to keep these guys. Going forward, we realize keeping Deebo and signing guys like Fred [Warner] and [George] Kittle How difficult it was. We knew we would end up paying [Nick] Bosa a lot of money.
So you look at that stuff and get a guy on a rookie quarterback is A big part of that. I love that we gave Trey a good team so he didn’t have to do it himself. Like I don’t believe Jimmy has to do it. You’re trying to build a team that’s not just four The shooting team.”
)Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
However, the market for Garoppolo’s service doesn’t exist, either because the 49ers are asking too much for him, or because they gave it up, and no team outside of their own division needs a quarterback .
If they release Garoppolo, his clearest path to playing time will be all the way in Seattle, reports San Francisco GM John Lynch Not keen on the Seahawks landing him. So the plan changed. Fence repaired. Now Garoppolo is back as Lance’s backup.
In a way, this makes sense for both parties. The Niners have insurance policies under center, and he has a higher starter win rate in San Francisco than Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
Plus the new contract includes a no-deal and no-label clause, and Garoppolo will definitely be in 2023 Become a free agent. If he does play this year, it will be the last three seasons he has led in one game after his second Super Bowl appearance.
But it’s the last part that could turn San Francisco’s 2022 season into a circus.
No one is arguing about Lance’s physical talent. He has a cannon in his right arm, and his athleticism can use his legs to increase yardage. Throughout the offseason, the 49ers did their best to talk about the young quarterback.
Training camp and preseason, even Shanahan admits that Lance may not be ready to start important the match of.
)Logan Riely/Getty Images
“I would love to have Trey get more practice and everything, more experience,” Shanahan told reporter. “But we’ve done those games and he’s ready. He needs to play these real games now and start playing. Sometimes he makes some mistakes and he has to learn from them to find a way to still win games, And get over some of that as he learns on the run.” They say actions speak louder than words, and bringing Garoppolo back seems like a In the reality that Shanahan and the 49ers have reservations about Lance’s readiness.
Talent or no, Reims has started three meaningful football games since 2019— — one of them was a game at FCS powerhouse North Dakota State — and had a season as a full-time starter since high school.
49ers are not New York Jets, Chicago Bears or Jacksonville Jaguars — rebuilding team willing to let young The quarterback took responsibility for Week 18 in a season that was coming to an end. The 49ers have established themselves as a contender. If Lance succeeds sooner, everything will be fine. Garoppolo is a pro and he will coach Lance as he did a year ago.
But what if he doesn’t? What if Lance struggles in Week 1 with the Bears? What if the Niners are 1-2 or 0-3 when the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams come to town on Oct. 3 and are in danger of staying away from them this season?
) Cooper Neal/Getty Images
Garoppolo does not have Lance’s arms or legs. But what he has is the team’s 31 wins in 45 regular-season starts, and as Tim Kawakami reported for The Athletic in January, the San Francisco locker room is respected.
“Jimmy G, you can’t say too much about that guy,” tight end George Kittle said. “The attitude he took, excuse my language. People keep trying to pull him off, all he does is try to deliver. He leads this team. He’s a sense of calm in a crowd, he’s a sense of the storm Calm. He made us play football at a high level.”
If Lance struggles, how long will it take Time for fans and media to clamor for Garoppolo? Makes the players in the locker room wonder why the guy who might have given the team a better chance of winning isn’t on the court now? Is Shanahan considering a substitution?
If Garoppolo does regain control of the offense, how does that affect the massive capital draft team investment Lance?
) Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Probably not. Lynch and Shanahan made more right moves than wrong moves during their time in Santa Clara. Maybe Lance will be out, Garoppolo will wait and everything will be fine at Levi’s.
But bringing back Galloppolo seems to suggest that even the 49ers doubt things will play out this way, and will be The Nines may have defined their season when the past served as insurance for the future.
For better or worse.