Jimmy Garoppolo could surprisingly return to 49ers

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While most think the 49ers will trade Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason, one NFL analyst sees a compelling reason for San Francisco to keep him around.

With just one year left on his contract in San Francisco, Jimmy Garoppolo always looked likely to leave the 49ers after their unexpected playoff run.

The team drafted Trey Lance as their quarterback of the future and have a narrow window to cash in on a Garoppolo trade.

However, Adam Schefter appeared on the Ari Meirov NFL Show and made some strong arguments for why a trade isn’t a certain outcome.

Adam Schefter thinks the 49ers could keep Jimmy Garoppolo

The calculation for SF has to start with whether or not Lance is ready to take over as a starter. He apparently wasn’t in 2021 and Schefter isn’t sure he’ll be ready in 2022 either.

“Trey Lance was probably further behind than people realized,” Schefter said. “Trey Lance is greener than people realize. Trey Lance is going to need more work than people realize. And they have a roster that can win now.”

Schefter weighed the options from the 49ers’ perspective if they could get value for Garoppolo equivalent to what the Jets got in the Sam Darnold trade: A second-, fourth- and sixth-round pick.

“Now you’re San Francisco and you can say, Jimmy Garoppolo is unquestionably one of the most popular and respected players in our locker room. We have him under contract this year at a very friendly $25 million cap number. And if we play with him this year and we lose him after this year, we’re going to get a third-round comp pick back in return,” Schefter said.

“So are you better, then, playing this season with Jimmy while getting Trey the training that he still needs? Or are you better trading him for let’s call it a two, four and six?”

The 49ers know Garoppolo can win a playoff game with this roster. It’s not clear if Lance could do the same at this point.

“It still is absolutely on the table that he could be moved and I think he believes that he’ll be moved,” Schefter said. “I’m just giving you the other side that I don’t think it’s a lock that he’s going to be traded.”

If a team came in with a first-round pick, everything could change for the 49ers.

That calculation doesn’t mean San Francisco has given up on Lance though. Schefter says the team is “still very high” on Lance. He just has a steep learning curve coming from a small school and playing just one game in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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