California’s SANTA CLARA — Even though the San Francisco 49ers were shocked that they were able to keep quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on a considerably reduced salary, that was nothing compared to how Garoppolo himself anticipated his eventful offseason would pan out.
First speaking to Bay Area media since February 1 and after agreeing to a revised one-year contract to remain in San Francisco on Monday, Garoppolo did so on Thursday. Garoppolo never imagined himself in this position again after bidding the squad, its supporters, and the media farewell in the winter.
That’s because Garoppolo consistently thought he would get a chance to start somewhere else through a stressful summer that included right shoulder surgery.
Being fully honest, [returning] really wasn’t on Garoppolo’s mind. “I was exercising here. I was here because I was required to be. I was merely attempting to align my body. I had a great sense of confidence and knew I was prepared to go. All I need to do now is locate it. And over the past few days, things have sort of fallen into place.”
With Trey Lance slated to replace Garoppolo at quarterback, a split between the QB and the Niners appeared inevitable for the majority of the offseason.
Garoppolo claims that despite having “a lot of discussions with other clubs,” he and his representatives never got to the point where another team approached him about renegotiating his contract in order to arrange a trade.
But that might have been a different story if not for the shoulder operation. General manager John Lynch claimed that once Garoppolo performed the procedure, any genuine interest vanished at the NFL owners’ meetings in the spring.
Lynch admitted on Thursday that prior to it, he believed something was almost complete.
What Lynch said was that there were “very serious negotiations” during the combine with “probably two to three clubs that I felt — you’d have to ask them — like this was going to happen.” “And that’s when the news started to spread,”
However, although Garoppolo started throwing again in late June and received the all-clear to practice on July 26, the previous interest never returned because the majority of desperate teams had already filled their quarterback positions.
Lynch explained, “That’s why we were a little lost.” “Yeah. Because he can talk to many people and was doing well, you can talk to his doctor, you can talk to our doctor. However, we’re glad they didn’t. We appreciate his presence.”
Since neither party had any firm deadlines throughout, the 49ers were able to hold onto Garoppolo throughout the preseason in case an injury elsewhere provided an opening to seize the opportunity.
Garoppolo claimed he thought about requesting his release from San Francisco even though the likelihood of that happening decreased. But he refrained from pulling the trigger because he didn’t want his four plus years of largely successful play to come to an end in that way.
Garoppolo stated, “That just wasn’t the path I wanted to go.” “… I’m one of those individuals that doesn’t really want to ruffle the feathers too much here and there and kind of want to just go with the flow. I think that there was a concept of that at one point, trust me there was, but that came and went. And I was content with how the training camp was progressing in that sense.”
When the Niners had to choose whether to keep Garoppolo on the roster by Tuesday’s cutdown to the initial 53-man rosters, the problem finally reached a head this week. The idea that the Niners would maintain Garoppolo at his prior $26.9 million salary-cap number was never a possibility, coach Kyle Shanahan said, despite earlier claims to the contrary.
Therefore, it was up to Garoppolo to decide whether to accept a significant wage reduction in order to stay or to be released and find a scenario that he thought would be better for him.
When asked on Thursday why he chose the former, Garoppolo responded, “There are a lot of reasons,” citing his knowledge with the team, the playbook, his coaches, and, perhaps most significantly, positioning himself for after 2022. It was crucial for Garoppolo to include a no-trade and no-tag condition in his revised deal because of this.
Garoppolo stated, “Seeing the other options that were out there and you weigh in the advantages and disadvantages of everything.” “I can assure you that there was a lot of back and forth only between my desired future and that of the other organizations. Therefore, this is what I desired.”
A few hours prior to his media appearance, Garoppolo was back on the practice field wearing his customary No. 10 jersey. Although it was a familiar sight, Garoppolo was trailing Lance in the individual drills for the first time.
All of it is a part of Garoppolo’s dual reality of the present and the past. Garoppolo and Lance don’t appear worried about how they’ll handle their unusual circumstance, at least not for now.
Shanahan discussed Garoppolo’s return with both quarterbacks before doing so. His message was clear: The way business is conducted remains unchanged.
The corporation made the choice, not me, Lance remarked. “Jimmy has always been a member of the roster. Obviously, I was aware that bringing him back was a possibility. Jimmy and I had always gotten along great. I was so happy to see him again that I had my arms wide extended.”