With quarterback Baker Mayfield traded from the Browns to the Panthers, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo becomes the next former starter to be available in trade. So what will it take to get Garoppolo?
The Panthers acquired the first overall pick in the 2018 draft for a $5 million base salary, up to $3.3 million in incentives, and a 2024 fifth-round pick that can become a fourth-round pick. No team that wants Garoppolo should be willing to invest more than what the Panthers gave up for Mayfield.
While Garoppolo would have to be persuaded to give up his compensation package of $25 million, once he passes a physical none of it will be guaranteed. He can be cut, and he’d get nothing. That gives him an incentive to work with the 49ers and any team that wants Garoppolo, in an effort to get something done.
There’s potentially a difference in Garoppolo’s case. For Mayfield, the Panthers seemed to be the only team that seriously pursued the trade. If two or more teams want Garoppolo, the price could go up.
Of course, if there weren’t two or more teams chasing Mayfiel. Why would there be two or more teams chasing Garoppolo? Mayfield is viewed as the better player, when healthy.
That’s why there’s a potential mutual benefit for the 49ers and Garoppolo in waiting for a training-camp or preseason injury. If a team loses its starter, that team would potentially be willing to pay Garoppolo’s full salary — and to give the 49ers much more than a future fifth-round pick. It’s a calculated risk, especially for Garoppolo. If no injury happens, he quite possibly will be squeezed to take less before the start of the regular season. If he refuses, he’d be released at a time when other teams will have their rosters set.
As training camp approaches, it’s an awkward situation. Especially if Garoppolo pushes for resolution sooner than later. If that happens, the Mayfield trade terms will make it harder for the 49ers to get what they want, and for Garoppolo to get what he wants.