With the San Francisco 49’ers restructuring the contract of QB Jimmy Garoppolo this week common sense has prevailed.
I have thought from day one, that it made more sense to have Jimmy G on their team than not. That has been a lonely island for yours truly. I have heard all the reasons opposing this view as well but I have not bought any of them.
The 49’ers came out early in the process and made it clear they were handing the keys to their offense over to second year pro Trey Lance, who they heavily invested their future in by trading up to get in last year’s college draft, 3rd in the first round. Most mainstream media jumped on board with this line of thinking and took the position of “Jimmy has to go”. Those same people are shaking their heads now and trying to justify why SF has done an about face and gone off the rails. I actually think they have done the only thing that made sense.
After the restructure was announced and after hearing all the agendas and spins, from people I respect, I think we are burying the lead- Jimmy G thinks his best chance to play, win and set himself up for a free agent payday- is with the 49’ers.
A couple things to remember…
San Fran gave Jimmy and his agent Don Yee permission to seek a trade going back to at least March. Yee is very smart, process oriented and good at his job. No doubt, they had plenty of time and analyzed the possible teams with interest, the QB and rest of the roster depth charts, the money teams were willing to pay and all the outcomes heading into free agency in 2023. The $6 million guaranteed, that was worked out with SF, was the most he could get. I have zero doubt that Garoppolo used what leverage he had (maybe it was in Seattle?) with “timing” to get the deal that best suited him under these circumstances. The Seahawks could have found a way to pay more, had they desired, but can they win with their current roster? eeehhhh. Those are questions that the Garoppolo camp had to ask. A similar discussion was had about any other teams who might be involved.
While not practicing a single day (the team could not risk the $22M salary if he got hurt) he watched Trey Lance perform all spring and summer. The end result was Jimmy and his camp saying, I have the best chance to PLAY and WIN, right here in SF. Said another way- Jimmy and his decision reflects the ups/downs/inconsistencies in the development of where Trey Lance is, as a leader and an NFL QB, at this time, as much as anything else.
The lead is- IMO, Jimmy thinks he will get the ball again in SF at some point this year and no matter how loud Head Coach Kyle Shanahan preaches to the media masses of the virtues of Lance- Jimmy is not drinking the Kool-Aid.
It’s a win-win for all involved. No matter the original plan of the 49’ brass, having Jimmy G in their locker room makes them a stronger team and gives them insurance that the players in that locker room appreciate more than anyone else. It’s a playoff team, ready to win right now and there had to be a nervous note in turning over the face of their team, despite the confidence and bravado of the head coach, to an unproven player at the most important position. Now they have insurance against the bumps in the road that will no doubt occur.
I don’t buy the criticism of some who say Jimmy’s presence will undermine the leadership and confidence of Lance. I shake my head at those that say, there can only be one leader. Jimmy is well respected, he’s a pro and well-liked by the fans and all who have come into contact. He is not going to be a problem or force anyone to choose sides. I love the fact that he can now continue to help mentor Lance and take over if doubt creeps into the 49’er season. The message and philosophy has to be, this is not about Trey Lance- it should be about what’s best for the 49’ers. The NFL is “big boy” football. If Lance is ready to take over this team, it has to show on the field- not in the media tent.
And here is another angle that makes these decisions and the regular season opener so unique. It's Trey Lance vs the Chicago Bears and Justin Fields, who was picked 7 spots behind Lance. We can actually decide, with our own eyes, who is further along in their journey of becoming an NFL QB. Get your popcorn ready.