49ers general manager John Lynch told reporters the franchise was hopeful Jimmy Garoppolo would have been able to rehab his right shoulder, but that the Niners “supported” his decision to get surgery March 8, just eight days before NFL league calendar flipped to 2022.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch shared a transcript of Lynch’s Q&A with reporters Monday from the NFL owners’ meetings in Palm Beach, Fla. During the interview, Lynch conceded that Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery hindered the team’s chances to trade him this offseason.
“There were a ton of conversations and I think there was real good momentum going into [the combine],” Lynch said, via Branch. “And then the decision that was made for Jimmy to have surgery caused a lot of teams to pause and at least slow down the process to do their due diligence. And then the quarterback musical chairs is going on.”
The Denver Broncos (Russell Wilson), Indianapolis Colts (Matt Ryan), Cleveland Browns (Deshaun Watson), Atlanta Falcons (Marcus Mariota), Washington Commanders (Carson Wentz) and Pittsburgh Steelers (Mitch Trubisky) each found new quarterbacks this offseason and none of them were Jimmy G.
Now there is a potentially awkward situation looming with Garoppolo returning to Santa Clara this fall, when he could be a backup to Trey Lance despite making $26.9 million this season. The 49ers have been transparent in their expectations with Lance since using three first-rounders and a third-rounder to move up to the No. 3 spot in the 2020 NFL Draft. While the 49ers planned for Lance to back up Garoppolo in 2021 all along, it appears their 2022 plans have been thrown out of whack.
“To be completely forthright, though, when you make a trade of that magnitude, most of our options did not include Jimmy on our books [in 2022]. On our team,” Lynch said. “But you always have to adapt and a series of events happened that it didn’t work out. But that’s not a bad thing, though. We feel positive with it. And we’ll make it work.”
With Garoppolo’s salary on the books, the 49ers haven’t been able to be very aggressive in free agency or in offering extensions to their own stars like Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa. At this point the 49ers are probably on Plan B or Plan C for their offseason.
“We have prepared for this all along,” Lynch said. “It’s not easy, but we’ll get creative and we’ll figure it out.”