The San Francisco 49ers appear to have a roster capable of winning Super Bowl 56 except perhaps at quarterback (pretty important disclaimer). It isn't exactly a secret around the NFL that the Niners would dump starter Jimmy Garoppolo either via release or trade if they could upgrade at position for the 2021 season. However, 49ers GM John Lynch was quite definitive this week that Jimmy G will be the team's starter to open this year barring injury. SportsLine offers NFL odds on Garoppolo's Week 1 status.
The 49ers reportedly inquired about possible trades for Detroit's Matthew Stafford and Philadelphia's Carson Wentz this offseason, but more of doing due diligence than making a substantial offer on either. Would the Niners deal Garoppolo if they could get Deshaun Watson? No question about it, but for now the Texans say they aren't dealing Watson.
No-trade clauses are huge from a player's perspective in Major League Baseball and the NBA because contracts in those sports are fully guaranteed. They aren't in the NFL, so no-trade clauses mean very little as a team can simply cut a guy.
Garoppolo is one of just eight players currently with a no-trade clause in the league, but it already has been reported my multiple outlets that he would waive it. Why? Jimmy G is set to earn around $26 million in the 2021 season but no guaranteed money. The 49ers would take a cap hit of just $2.8 million by cutting or releasing him. Thus, it obviously is smart business sense for Garoppolo to say he would accept a trade so he can keep that big salary.
The New England Patriots are constantly mentioned as a possible landing spot because of course Garoppolo was a 2014 second-round pick by the Pats and was being groomed as Tom Brady's eventual successor before Bill Belichick was forced to trade Garoppolo during the 2017 season to San Francisco. New England definitely is in the market for a QB.
Lynch was asked on The Eye Test for Two podcast this week whether there was any doubt in his mind Garoppolo would be the team's starter Week 1 assuming the QB is injury-free: "No. Not at all. I really believe that. Just look at the numbers. He's [24-9] when he's played."
Injuries have been a problem, however, as Garoppolo has missed 23 games the past three seasons and played just six in 2020. San Francisco cratered to a 6-10 record the year after reaching the Super Bowl and went 3-3 straight up and against the spread in Jimmy G's six games. He wasn't that great in completing 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,096 yards, seven TDs and five picks for a rating of 92.4 that would have ranked 22nd in the NFL and below the likes of Gardner Minshew (95.9), Ryan Fitzpatrick (95.6) and Mitchell Trubisky (93.5) had Garoppolo qualified.
Lynch did acknowledge the team has to find a better backup (Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard were the backups last season) because of Garoppolo's injury history. The team is 7-19 when Jimmy G doesn't start since acquiring him on Halloween 2017. Trubisky and Fitzpatrick are both free agents and could be backup options. Former first-round bust Josh Rosen is also on the roster.
"Being available is a big part of this thing," Lynch said of Jimmy G's injury problems. "So we — probably as a stated goal — we have to insulate ourselves better. We've got to have better options if he's not there."
William Hill Sportsbook lists San Francisco at +1400 to win Super Bowl 56 down the California coast in Los Angeles.
Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Will Jimmy Garoppolo start Week 1 of the 2021 season (barring injury) for the 49ers?
- Yes -450
- No +320
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