It is starting to look like all of the talk from the 49ers regarding their plans for veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hasn’t been just a smoke screen after all.
After San Francisco drafted Trey Lance with the third pick in the draft, it was easy to question how sincere the organization was when it said it planned for Garoppolo to continue as the starter with his current contract in place. With a salary cap hit of $26.4 million for 2021 and $27 million in 2022, it seemed as though the 49ers front office was simply trying to pump up Garoppolo’s value for a possible trade.
Josh Rosen’s presence on the roster had been the linchpin for the case made by some, myself included, that the organization might be willing to trade away Garoppolo at some point before this season’s trade deadline. Rosen had been the 10th selection in the 2018 draft, so the belief was he must be talented, and working with Kyle Shanahan would finally provide the break that he’d need to find success. That proved to be as inaccurate as most of Rosen’s throws during training camp.
The 49ers released Rosen on Tuesday afternoon, a move all but guaranteeing Garoppolo will be on the roster for the entire season and the starting quarterback for the 49ers season opener against the Detroit Lions.
With the release of Rosen, the remaining quarterbacks in San Francisco’s quarterback room are Garoppolo, Lance and Nate Sudfeld. Anyone that has ever watched Sudfeld play can conclude that there is no way that Lynch and Shanahan would willingly choose to have him and a rookie be the only quarterbacks on the roster.
The Rosen release may also be an indication that the 49ers will carry only two quarterbacks, Garoppolo and Lance, on their 53-man roster. When San Francisco signed Sudfeld this offseason, they gave him a signing bonus of $250,000. This was likely with the understanding that he would be on their practice squad this season and to help with the resulting reduction in salary. By choosing to go with only two quarterbacks, there would be greater roster flexibility, which may be necessary due to the number of players currently working through injuries.