San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Friday the team agreed to allow quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to work separately while awaiting a potential trade.
Garoppolo has been cleared for football activities after undergoing surgery in March, but the Niners decided to move forward with 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance as the new leader of their offense.
In turn, Shanahan explained the team's former starter didn't desire full involvement in the 49ers' preseason preparations, which is why he's been practicing off to the side.
"We made it the best for both," Shanahan told reporters. "I mean, if Jimmy wanted to be in every single meeting and wanted to do everything, for sure we would let him. I would guess that isn't what he would want, totally. And when we asked him, that was accurate—he didn't totally want that. So he's just trying to get his body ready for hopefully the next situation he goes into."
Garoppolo and the team's front office are in a difficult situation because the injury limited trade interest throughout the offseason, and now most opposing franchises have solidified their quarterback situations for 2022.
One exception is the Seattle Seahawks, who are hosting a training camp battle between Geno Smith and Drew Lock for the top spot on the depth chart.
In May, Hawks head coach Pete Carroll downplayed the idea of making a trade, though.
"I don't see us making a trade for anybody at all," Carroll said. "I don't see that happening. But we're certainly going to continue to be open to chances to help our club, and meanwhile we're just going to be battling and competing our tails off."
It's unclear whether that stance could have changed over the past few months.
Meanwhile, Shanahan said Friday the 49ers maintain a "real good relationship" with Garoppolo.
"There's no secret here of what the situation is," he said. "I think he fully understands the situation. We fully understand the situation. So, we make the best of it. Jimmy's out there. He's feeling better and better each day."
The question becomes whether the 30-year-old Eastern Illinois product will be ready to handle a backup role to open the new season if no trade is found since he's not taking part in the full allotment of practices and meetings.
That uncertainty combined with his contract situation could force the Niners to make a tough decision before roster cuts.
Garoppolo is set to enter the final season of a five-year, $137.5 million contract, which includes a $26.95 million salary-cap hit for 2022.
The 49ers would receive $25.55 million in cap savings if he's released, according to Spotrac. But the salary becomes fully guaranteed if he makes the initial 53-man roster, per ESPN's Nick Wagoner, which must be finalized by Aug. 30.
So, while San Francisco has long maintained it won't release Garoppolo, it could be a few weeks away from that being the most viable option.
The Niners have an NFL-low $692,000 in cap space, and they're going to need money for signings when injuries inevitably arise throughout the season.
Ultimately, all signs point to Garoppolo having played his last game with the 49ers, but how that tenure will end remains a mystery.