The Seahawks have named their starting quarterback in Geno Smith, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the guy who will start the most games at that position for Seattle this season is on the current roster.
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Even with head coach Pete Carroll announcing Smith will start the Week 1 opener against the Denver Broncos, many believe that the Seahawks will wind up with Jimmy Garoppolo, who does not appear to be in the 49ers’ plans as they will start 2021 No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance this season.
Matt Maiocco, 49ers insider for NBC Sports Bay Area, joined Mike Lefko on The Mike Salk Show on Seattle Sports 710 AM Monday morning to discuss what’s going on with Garoppolo and how he could wind up with the Seahawks.
“This thing’s been going on forever, it seems,” Maiocco said. “Two days after the season was over, Jimmy Garoppolo had his farewell press conference and ended by saying, ‘Thanks guys, it’s been quite a ride.’ So everybody assumed since then that Jimmy Garoppolo’s days were numbered. Then he had the shoulder surgery and no team wanted to trade for him then. He’s been coming to the practice facility every day to go through a throwing program, but he doesn’t have a playbook and he doesn’t go to meetings even though he’s been cleared to practice.”
Even though Garoppolo quarterbacked the 49ers to two playoff wins last year, he is listed as the No. 4 quarterback on San Francisco’s roster and is only on the depth chart because he has to be, Maiocco said.
“So you can understand why everybody here feels like, ‘OK, Jimmy Garoppolo is not going to be on the team when the season starts,'” he said.
It’s seemed unlikely that San Francisco would be able to trade Garoppolo this offseason due to his high salary cap hit as well as him coming off shoulder surgery, but the thought of late has been that he would be cut and the Seahawks are a top team to watch. Teams must have their rosters down to 53 players by 1 pm Tuesday.
So why does it feel like he’s going to be released?
“The 49ers, they’re still putting out the word that, ‘Hey, we might keep him.’ If they were to keep him, that’d be kind of odd because he’s been persona non grata this entire offseason,” Maiocco said. “The big thing would be that with the team being handed over to Trey Lance, you can’t have a backup quarterback making $24.2 million.”
Garoppolo and his camp have had the ability to talk to the Seahawks or other teams about a trade for roughly five months, Maiocco said.
“So they can be in contact with Seattle or any other team and (the 49ers) would know exactly the kind of contract that Seattle or some other team would give him,” Maiocco said. “… It’s just an odd situation. But with the cut down to the initial 53-man roster set for (Tuesday), that is seen as kind of a key date in this whole thing. Because if the 49ers keep him – they don’t intend to keep him for the start of the regular season – then you’re basically cutting one more spot than you need to to keep a guy that you don’t envision being on your team .”
Maiocco is surprised the 49ers haven’t already cut Garoppolo by this point as a sign of respect because he’s been great for the organization and a stellar teammate. But he noted that the Seahawks are a potential reason why that hasn’t happened.
“My thought was just by an organization that claims they do everything with the player’s best interests at heart, as well as the team’s best interest, just cut him. Let him go find his (next) team and give him an opportunity to succeed,” he said. “But the counter to that I always heard was … why deliver him to a division rival and not get anything in return? So in essence (they) kind of blocked him going to Seattle at the start of training camp when he could have been fully ingrained in the playbook and competing for a starting job and most likely winning the starting job.”
Plus, Maiocco noted, the Seahawks and 49ers face off in Week 2.
“Why do that when you can look at the schedule and see that Week 2, Seattle’s coming to Levi Stadium, and the absolute worst-case scenario for the 49ers would be making this big transition to Trey Lance and here comes Jimmy Garoppolo strolling in wearing “Seattle Seahawks colors and beating the 49ers in front of his former home crowd,” he said. “So that’s been kind of the thought process, (that) the 49ers have to do right by the 49ers. And they envision or they believe doing the best thing for them is basically blocking Garoppolo from a division opponent.”
“Nobody has told me that there’s any inside information that Garoppolo is definitely going to Seattle or Seattle’s interested or anything along those lines. This is just purely speculative,” Maiocco later added. “But I will tell you that inside the (49ers) organization, the belief is that if Jimmy Garoppolo were cut free today, there’s a decent chance that he would be signing with the Seattle Seahawks tomorrow.”
You can listen to the full conversation with Maiocco in the podcast at this link or in the player near the top of this post.
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