In trade negotiations, the best leverage comes from a steadfast and credible insistence that the team doesn’t really want to trade the player. The 49ers, having moved up to No. 3 in the 2021 draft with the clear goal of acquiring a new quarterback, must now insist steadfastly and credibly that they don’t want to trade quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
The ruse has already begun, with the 49ers spreading the word to multiple reporters that “Jimmy is our man,” even though he clearly isn’t.
Really, why would the 49ers pick three first round picks and a third round for the chance to draft their quarterback of the future if Garoppolo remains their quarterback of the present? If Garoppolo is the man now, he’s the man later. If he isn’t the man later on, then he shouldn’t be that man now.
But to get the most out of Garoppolo in the trade, the 49ers need to convince everyone (or at least one other team) that they will keep him. Just like the Vikings when they had “no intention” to trade Percy Harvin or the Cardinals when Josh Rosen was “our man” or when the Giants Odell Beckham Jr. didn’t pay to exchange it.
Nothing prevents the 49ers from keeping Garoppolo and paying him the $ 25 million he would make this year. However, it would be stupid to do that. Nothing prevents another team from acting for Garoppolo’s contract and paying him $ 25 million this year. However, it would be stupid to do that.
The 49ers were able to keep Garoppolo for a drastically reduced salary. They could also trade him, for a lower salary.
With no guaranteed final award of money on April 1st and no roster bonuses due in the off season and no other trigger forcing the 49ers to move quickly, time is on the 49ers’ side. Like the Raiders with tackle Trent Brown, the 49ers can tell Garoppolo and any interested team that they will just keep Garoppolo and cut him off later. If another team wants him now, a deal could be struck that would include compensation for the 49ers, a reduced salary for Garoppolo and (possibly) an agreement to ditch the final season of his deal in 2022 and make Garoppolo free. runner after the season.
Regardless, multiple examples from the past show us that the messages sent by the 49ers about their alleged desire to keep Garoppolo should not be believed. Every team wants to gain value for every asset it has. An exchange is always preferable to an outright release. Anything they get for Garoppolo is better than nothing they would get if they cut him off.
What it comes down to? No one is paying Garoppolo $ 25 million this year. The only question is whether he’s taking less to stay in San Francisco, whether he’s taking less to facilitate a trade, or whether he’s ultimately cutting back.