The 49ers have a couple of situations to address.
Each presents their own unique issues and potential dramas. On one hand it is the failure to send Jimmy Garoppolo packing. He is still on the roster with a nonexistent trade market. On the other hand, the 49ers still have an unhappy Deebo Samuel who is yet to be extended or rescind his trade request.
Both of these are situations that the 49ers have to fix. They cannot let this linger going into training camp, especially the regular season.
So which situation must the 49ers resolve first between Garoppolo and Samuel?
It has to be Garoppolo.
For starters, if Samuel is still an unhappy camper going into the season, then the 49ers have the right players and coaches to get through it. Samuel‘s teammates will understand that he’s got a business aspect to take care of, which won’t become a locker room issue. And if the 49ers fail to extend him this offseason, then they still hold all the cards in this. Samuel can easily be franchise tagged by the 49ers. As much as they need to get this resolved, ideally with an extension, it isn’t the most pressing.
Getting Garoppolo off of the team is the first order of business for the 49ers. This needs to be their top priority. In fact, Garoppolo should’ve never made it this far into the offseason on the 49ers. Cut him once and for all. Send a clear message that Trey Lance is the starter. By keeping Garoppolo, the 49ers leave the door open for him to return as the starter or remain on the team into the regular season.
Now, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan have reiterated that he’s too good of a player to just cut and that a scenario exists where they carry him onto the final 53-man roster. This is why there is so much noise surrounding questions about Lance. Whether it is that he is “underwhelming” or “not ready” Lynch and Shanahan are responsible for all of that noise when they could’ve nipped it in the bud by cutting Garoppolo.
Worst part of all of this is their belief that Garoppolo truly has a market once he’s healthy. All of the quarterback needy teams are gone except for the Panthers. That is the one and only shot the 49ers have in getting Garoppolo finally off the team. They need to do it fast or cut him.
The 49ers have less than a million dollars in salary cap space. If they wanted to do some last minute veteran signings, then it wouldn’t be possible with Garoppolo’s contract hogging up all of the space. Not to mention that his contract is most likely what his holding up cashing out Samuel. Considering all of that, it becomes clear why Garoppolo being traded or cut needs to occur first and foremost.
Extending Samuel and getting him happy again is critical for the 49ers. But for them to make headway on that, they need to get their situation with Garoppolo resolved first. His spot on the team still opens up the floodgates to annoying questions in training camp, holding up Samuel’s extension, and a repeat of running it back.