Sometimes we miss the forest through the trees. Yesterday, Adam Shifter reported an established fact four months ago, and the general reaction has been to paraphrase the same talking points people have been using since February.
Instead, we had to wonder why this report happened, which is exactly what Levin Black and I did on the Gold Standard podcast.
First, let’s admit the obvious: Jimmy Garoppolo’s agents aren’t stupid. They have been trying to find a deal for their clients for months. Clearly it hasn’t materialized yet, so what would they gain by sending this “news” to Adam Shifter? Levine Black had an idea on the Today Show.
“You have to wonder why the agents are putting this out there now. To me, that’s because Jimmy is about to place an order. They put it there so they can come in and say in a week, or maybe even two days, ‘We’ve exhausted all efforts. There’s no show there.'” We are officially asking to be released so Jimmy can get onto another team at the start of camp and have a fair chance. I think that’s what he’s coming to.
Jimmy’s agents don’t want him to sit around and get ransomed by the team through the training camp where the 49ers are basically hoping that some of the team will get injured and become desperate… they want to be able to say, ‘There are no business partners there.’ The 49ers need to do the right thing. They said they would do right by our client Jimmy Garoppolo, and the right thing to do is to release him because there is no business partner there.”
The Niners are stuck between a rock and a hard place on that front. They have spoken candidly about “the right thing to do” by Garoppolo and working with him to find a new destination. John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan both record that they won’t release Garoppolo because he’s “too good” for the player.
That first promise may have been dashed. The second trade talks in February came to a “sudden halt” after Jimmy’s team told the world he needed shoulder surgery, but we don’t know for sure. Even if he was released after being physically passed, it would be hard for the team to argue that they did it right by Garoppolo after refusing to cut it until most teams’ rosters are well mapped out.
If Jimmy formally demands his release and the 49-year-old remains stubborn about not being cut, a whole new situation arises. Divided dressing room. Many of the current 49ers believe that Garoppolo has earned the right to be the starting midfielder due to the team’s termination in two of the past three years. Others might disagree after seeing Lance’s physical skills in practice and during his debut last year. Inevitably, the lines will be drawn, and the sides will be taken.
It almost happened last year after 49 players used the lance multiple times in the first few games. In the first week, Fox analyst Mark Sanchez commented on how difficult it was for the number one quarterback to congratulate and support the man who bumped his touchdown away. When asked about it on KNBR, Garoppolo replied, “He’s not wrong,” and talked about how the locker room protects his back. There were also rumors that veteran players were unhappy with the Lance package and told Kyle Shanahan that it was undermining Garoppolo’s leadership of the team. Whether or not you think is up to you, but what is undeniable is that the Lance Pack is gone after Week 3 against the Packers.
So, for now, we’re still waiting for the next step in the chess match between the 49ers and Garoppolo. The team doesn’t want him anywhere near the field in training camp because a major injury would put them in trouble because of his salary. Garoppolo definitely wants to inform the team he actually wants instead of the team he doesn’t. It is confrontation. In the end, the ultimatum “Fire me, or I’ll report” appears to be the last card left in Jimmy’s team’s hand.