Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t want to ‘ruffle the feathers’ by requesting release, happy to stay with 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo’s restructured contract keeps him in San Francisco (for now, at least) and could make things a little awkward in the quarterbacks room.

Just don’t tell that to the new understudy or the man he’s backing up, Trey Lance.

“Nothing changes, it makes the QB room all that much better, just another resource for me,” Lance told reporters on Thursday. “A guy that’s played this offense, a guy that’s done it, who’s played a lot of ball, so for me, my mindset on it is that Jimmy’s going to be a huge resource for me, as he always has been, as he has been since draft day.”

A strained relationship between the two would be understandable. Garoppolo just helped the 49ers reach the NFC Championship Game for the second time in his career, and although he didn’t win this time around, he certainly played a part in getting San Francisco to the doorstep of the Super Bowl.

Going from starting signal-caller in a conference championship game to a backup would bruise anyone’s ego. Garoppolo has seen both sides of that arrangement, though, and knows better.

“I mean, if that’s going to take a blow to your ego then you’ve gotta check your ego a little bit,” Garoppolo said on Thursday. “But no, I think you’ve got to know who you are in this league, who you are as a player, who you are as a person, and I think that’s going to carry you a long way, so that’s why I’m really not too concerned about that.”

Garoppolo’s demotion was a result of his ceiling, which just wasn’t high enough for the 49ers’ ambitions, and of San Francisco’s long-term plan to succeed Garoppolo with Lance. Instead of making a clean transition as most (including the 49ers) expected, the ex is staying in the apartment until the lease is up.

That doesn’t mean they can’t all act like adults, though.

“I mean, talking to (coach) Kyle (Shanahan) and (general manager) John (Lynch), they were pretty clear about it, didn’t directly talk to Trey about it, but John said that they talked to him and everything,” Garoppolo said. “And me and Trey, honestly, I know a lot of stuff gets made in the media and s— like that, but we have a good relationship, so everyone can say what they want, but what we went through last year is very similar to this situation, so it’s not like we haven’t done it before.”

Lance arrived in San Francisco in 2021 as Garoppolo’s immediate backup and long-term replacement, setting up a season in which Garoppolo would have a reason to frequently look over his shoulder while also attempting to win games. Instead of allowing this new situation to distract him, Garoppolo remained focused, leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game before falling to the division-rival Los Angeles Rams in heartbreaking fashion.

That seemed to be the end of the Garoppolo era in the Bay Area, so much that Garoppolo used his news conference following the loss to say goodbye to those who had covered him and the 49ers since his arrival in 2017.

Then, Garoppolo underwent shoulder surgery, suppressing interest in his services and placing him in an uncertain situation that lasted through the end of training camp. He was essentially a man without a team, spending 49ers practices throwing off to the side and being kept out of meetings. Garoppolo wasn’t even given the team’s playbook.

As the preseason wound down, it became clear the market San Francisco envisioned for Garoppolo hadn’t materialized. Yet, Garoppolo remained quiet and didn’t request a release from the team.

His best option proved to be a simple one: stay with the 49ers. The two sides worked out a deal to make that possible while also avoiding tying one of the 49ers’ financial hands behind their back.

“That just wasn’t the way I wanted to go,” Garoppolo said of being released. “There was a thought of that at one point, trust me, there was, but that came and went. I don’t know, things just kept falling into place, I’m one of those people that I don’t really want to ruffle the feathers too much here and there, and kind of just want to go with the flow, and that’s kind of where training camp was going, and I was happy with it. Like I said, things worked out, I’m happy now.”

In the deal, Garoppolo also received a no-trade clause, providing security and decision-making power to the quarterback in the event a suitor makes a serious offer for the quarterback.

Even if Garoppolo doesn’t get traded, he knows he’s one play away from being right back where he was for most of the last five years. That scenario is part of what motivated Garoppolo to work out an agreement to stay in San Francisco, emphasizing the importance of familiarity Thursday.

Still, whether he takes the field in 2022, he’s aware his services will be sought by other quarterback-needy teams at some point. He just won’t have to take a one-year trial somewhere new first.

“Always have to think about that, as much as you’re in it for the wins and everything like that, you’ve got to look into the future a little bit, contracts situations and all that, I think everybody does that to a certain degree,” Garoppolo said. “You have to be smart in that sense. But at the end of the day I’m a 49er right now and I’m happy about that.”

If Lance goes down, the 49ers will be happy to have Garoppolo, too. And if not, they’ll have some room to part amicably — and keep the security deposit.

Source: Read Full Article