How, why 49ers could keep Jimmy Garoppolo on initial 53-man roster

There’s a scenario where the 49ers’ final cuts get wild and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is not among the 27 players let go by Tuesday’s 1:00pm Pacific Time deadline. It’s not necessarily likely, but it’s also not necessarily unlikely, so buckle up just in case.

Let’s walk through the situation.

Garoppolo’s fully-guaranteed $24.2 million salary isn’t due until Sept. 10. That gives San Francisco 11 days after the deadline to keep Garoppolo in their building without a major financial commitment.

Logistically it would be easy to keep the veteran signal caller for another week-and-a-half. He’d simply make the 53-man roster in favor of someone on the back end of the roster that San Francisco believes will get through waivers or go unsigned as an unrestricted free agent.

Garoppolo would occupy a spot on the 53-man roster until the 49ers decided to cut him. They could then re-sign the player they let go to make room for Garoppolo.

Why would they keep him there?

That’s where speculation about the Seattle Seahawks’ interest comes in. NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco said on KNBR in San Francisco that belief in the 49ers’ building is that the Seahawks want the 49ers’ QB to help improve their situation under center where Geno Smith is beating out Drew Lock in a QB competition.

Keeping Garoppolo in Santa Clara until Sept. 10 gives the 49ers’ NFC West rival the fewest possible days to get Garoppolo up to speed and inserted as their starting QB. Surely Seattle’s Week 2 visit to Levi’s Stadium on Sept. 18 plays a role, but the 49ers won’t want to avoid helping a divisional foe for as long as they can.

There are two less likely alternate scenarios.

There’s one where the 49ers keep Garoppolo into the regular season and pay to keep him around in hopes a team becomes desperate during the season and will unload draft capital to acquire the veteran from San Francisco. That seems unlikely though since at that point the 49ers would be effectively be rolling with a 52-man roster, which is not that good of an idea.

The second one is an even greater long shot, and it’s where Garoppolo stays as the backup QB. Given everything that’s happened over the last 12 months that’s a near impossibility given the locker room dynamics involved and the fact Garoppolo has participated in zero portions of the offseason.

So, chances are if Garoppolo is on the 53-man roster, it’ll be for a short time to ensure a division rival gets as little prep time as possible before the regular season begins. They may also not care and just release him with the other players on Aug. 30. It’s better to buckle up just in case though.


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Story originally appeared on Niners Wire