The 2023 NFL offseason is drawing closer by the day, so it’s time to evaluate depth charts and determine what path these teams should take to build out their rosters for the future. One key player for the San Francisco 49ers is QB Jimmy Garoppolo — we’ll review his contract and 2023 market value. Should they re-sign him or let him walk in free agency?
Jimmy Garoppolo’s Past Production
Garoppolo has certainly had his moments of success in this 49ers offense over the past several years. “Jimmy G” has gone 38-17 as a starter for San Francisco over his tenure with the team, highlighted by a trip to the 2020 Super Bowl — where they ultimately lost to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Garoppolo’s career as a 49er has not been without its shortcomings though, which ultimately led the franchise to select the ultra-athletic QB prospect out of North Dakota State in 2021, Trey Lance.
The big storyline this past offseason was the 49ers’ transition away from Garoppolo as the starting QB to Lance, who they invested significant resources in to move up and select in the NFL draft the year before.
San Francisco was ultimately able to bring Garoppolo back on a restructured contract just before the start of the 2022 NFL season to be the backup QB, but he was forced back into the starting lineup due to Lance’s season-ending injury in Week 2.
Over the course of this season, before his own season-ending injury, Jimmy G had a 67% completion rate on 308 pass attempts, 2,437 passing yards, and 16 touchdowns to just four interceptions.
Unfortunately, Garoppolo’s successful season was cut short due to a foot injury that he suffered in Week 13 as he now heads toward free agency.
Garoppolo’s Contract/Market Value
Garoppolo restructured his contract in 2022 to a one-year deal worth $6.5 million in order to remain with the team. This was after signing a five-year, $137.5 million contract back in 2019. He is now slated to be an unrestricted free agent in 2023.
According to Spotrac, Garoppolo’s market value for his next contract is an average annual salary of $34.9 million. He played incredibly well this season after stepping in as the backup QB for Lance and has played his way into another multi-year contract.
At just 31 years of age, Jimmy G can still be a long-term option for an NFL franchise. A comparable contract would be Ryan Tannehill’s deal with the Tennessee Titans for four years and $118 million — AAV of $29.5 million — when he was 31 years old.
49ers QB Depth Chart
The future of the QB position in San Francisco is completely up in the air. With the investment made in Lance via the NFL draft, it would be easy to surmise that he’s the long-term option for this franchise and Garoppolo will be heading towards free agency this offseason.
However, Lance’s injury — and his rehab — will dictate which path the 49ers choose to take over the next several months. If Lance does not look like he can ever come back to 100% after the leg injury he sustained, re-signing Garoppolo should be a priority for San Francisco.
If Lance appears to be on track to make a full recovery by the 2023 season, the 49ers have invested too much in the young QB — three first-round draft picks — to re-sign Garoppolo at his projected market value.
Additionally, San Francisco is currently projected to have just $13 million in cap space this offseason. If they decide to bring back Jimmy G at his projected salary, they’ll need to make some tough decisions elsewhere on the roster and potentially move on from some other talented pieces to make room for him.
The recent emergence of Brock Purdy at the QB position for San Francisco could make Garoppolo expendable when factoring in his asking price. As long as Lance is on schedule with his rehab, a QB room of both Lance and Purdy at just $9.5 million total per year versus Garoppolo alone at a projected $34 million is the more likely decision for San Francisco.
Add in the fact that Garoppolo is working on his own recovery from injury, it’s highly likely that he makes his way to the free-agency market in 2023.