San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan suggested last week that it’s conceivable that QB Jimmy Garoppolo could return to the team in 2022.
But it's not at all the club's intent, according to NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport. The 49ers intend to trade Garoppolo in the offseason to clear the deck for first-round draft pick Trey Lance, who is being groomed for the role from the sideline as a rookie this season.
"Absent a Super Bowl run, which at this point is still theoretically possible, this is the 49ers' plan next season: start Trey Lance, trade Jimmy Garoppolo. Not a surprise there, they've been pretty up front about that," Rapoport said Sunday on NFL GameDay Morning. "What Garoppolo is doing now is increasing the value of picks the 49ers get in a trade involving him, and they make it more likely that a place he wants to go would want to take him."
With Garoppolo at the helm for all but one start, the 49ers are 5-5 and remain in the playoff hunt, albeit in a tough division with the Cardinals and Rams among the top teams in the NFC. Garoppolo has completed 170 of 254 passes this season for 2,112 yards, 12 touchdowns and only five interceptions. A strong finish would certainly make him more appealing around the league. It's also worth noting that the 2022 quarterback draft class isn't projected to be especially strong, which could bolster the market for free-agent quarterbacks and trade-worthy veterans like Garoppolo.
Four years ago, the 49ers traded a second-round draft pick to the New England Patriots for Garoppolo, then promptly signed him to a lucrative five-year, $137.5 million contract.
Now, it appears he's on his way to being traded once again.