Two NFL execs: Jimmy G's new contract points to him playing originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
The 49ers have made it crystal clear all offseason that second-year quarterback Trey Lance is the unquestioned starter entering the 2022 NFL season.
Jimmy Garoppolo's return to the 49ers after taking a pay cut might have complicated the situation from the outside looking in, but coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have remained committed to Lance.
The messages coming out of Santa Clara haven't stopped executives around the NFL from speculating that Garoppolo will take back the starting job at some point during the 2022 season.
Two unnamed NFL executives spoke to The Washington Post's Jason La Canfora, and both believe the way the 49ers structured Garoppolo's contract means the team has a feeling he will play this season.
“Look at the level of detail that went into that contract,” one NFL team’s contract negotiator told La Canfora. “That’s not the kind of thing you do for your backup, right before your raw quarterback makes his first Week 1 start, if you aren’t concerned about him. The deal is structured the way it is because Garoppolo is likely to play. Or they expect him to play. My guess is sooner rather than later.”
Garoppolo was set to make $24.2 million this season before redoing his contract with the 49ers. Now, the 30-year-old will earned $6.5 million in guaranteed salary. The deal includes $8.45 million in playing-time incentives and $500,000 in per-game roster bonuses.
Lance is the starting quarterback, but if Garoppolo is pressed into action, he is set to earn more money.
“It’s not what you say; it’s what you do, and when you do it," one NFL GM told La Canfora. "A deal like that doesn’t come together overnight, and it got done right before the season. That tells you all you need to know. They think they need their backup to play.”
Shanahan and Lynch have put all their eggs into Lance's basket, and they are banking on him developing quickly in order to help lead the 49ers back to the Super Bowl.
But if Lance struggles early in the season, as some analysts believe he will, the proven commodity in Garoppolo is there waiting in the wings. And it sounds like a few executives around the league expect that to happen sooner rather than later.