The San Francisco 49ers are still reportedly planning to trade Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason and are willing to be flexible to make it happen.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated reported Monday that the 49ers and Garoppolo are "flexible to find the best situation" for the quarterback, who is heading into the final year of his contract.
The 49ers are planning to install 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance as their starter next season.
Garoppolo's status for 2022 has remained at a standstill after he underwent surgery to repair an injured capsule in his shoulder. He's still recovering and has not been able to throw for teams potentially interested in his services.
The number of potential Garoppolo suitors has also dwindled significantly. Nearly every team that came into the offseason in need of a veteran quarterback has acquired one.
The Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks are the two remaining teams in obvious need of help at the position, but it feels unlikely that San Francisco would trade Garoppolo within the division. That leaves Carolina as Garoppolo's best potential landing spot, and the Panthers invested a third-round pick in Matt Corral during the draft and have Sam Darnold already on their roster.
The Panthers have also been monitoring the status of Baker Mayfield, who requested a trade from the Cleveland Browns this offseason. Mayfield's relationship with the Browns is in a far worse state than Garoppolo and the 49ers, which may lead to teams being more willing to wait things out.
Should the Panthers trade for Garoppolo, they would be paying a combined $43.1 million in base salary for the combo of Darnold and Garoppolo—not exactly the best use of resources in NFL history. The combined cap hits for those two below-average starting quarterbacks would be higher than any single signal-caller this season.
It's possible Garoppolo would sign an extension that lowers his cap hit as part of a trade, and the 49ers are reportedly willing to allow teams to negotiate with him ahead of any deal. That said, it's becoming increasingly likely that Garoppolo returns to San Francisco in 2022 as the NFL's highest-paid backup.