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49ers give quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo permission to seek trade

Jimmy Garoppolo has permission to seek a trade from the 49ers. (Jae C. Hong/AP)

The San Francisco 49ers granted quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s representatives permission to explore trade possibilities, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The 49ers are preparing to move forward with second-year quarterback Trey Lance as their starter. But with training camp nearly at hand, they have yet to part with Garoppolo, who is returning from offseason shoulder surgery and is in the final year of a contract that pays a base salary of $24.2 million for 2022. He is eligible for unrestricted free agency next spring.

It is not clear which teams, if any, would be willing to trade for Garoppolo for that salary. His agent, Don Yee, did not respond to a request for comment Wednesday.

When the Cleveland Browns traded quarterback Baker Mayfield to the Carolina Panthers this month, Mayfield agreed to reduce his $18.858 million salary for the 2022 season by about $3.5 million. The Browns will pay about $10.5 million of Mayfield’s remaining salary, while the Panthers will pay approximately $5 million.

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The Browns received a conditional fifth-round choice in the 2024 draft in the Mayfield trade. That pick can become a fourth-rounder based on Mayfield’s playing time with the Panthers. The 49ers may have to keep their expectations for a trade return for Garoppolo similarly modest.

“Jimmy G has been available for trade acquisition for the past six months,” former Green Bay Packers executive Andrew Brandt wrote on Twitter after ESPN first reported the 49ers’ decision to grant permission for Garoppolo to seek a trade. “Hard to believe the 49ers think they can now get something for him that they couldn’t before.”

The Seattle Seahawks could still be in the market for a veteran after trading Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos. They were linked to Mayfield in trade speculation before the Browns’ deal with the Panthers. But the 49ers might be wary of making a trade with an NFC West foe.

The Browns already traded for Deshaun Watson this offseason, but he is facing a potential suspension under the NFL’s personal conduct policy. Cleveland added Jacoby Brissett in March as a backup to Watson but could still need help at the position.

Garoppolo, 30, may be headed to his third team following stints with the New England Patriots and the 49ers. The 49ers traded up for the third selection in the 2021 draft and used it on Lance, but the rookie mostly remained on the sideline last season while Garoppolo retained the starting job. The 49ers reached the NFC championship game but lost to the Los Angeles Rams.

The 49ers have played in two of the past three NFC title games, reaching the Super Bowl in the 2019 season before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs. They have won 31 of the 45 regular season games that Garoppolo has started.

But he has struggled with ill-timed mistakes and has 38 interceptions to go with his 71 career touchdown passes for the Patriots and 49ers. He had 12 interceptions and 20 touchdown passes last season.

Garoppolo reportedly has resumed throwing after undergoing shoulder surgery in March. The 49ers are scheduled to begin training camp next week.

Joe Banner, a former executive for the Browns and Philadelphia Eagles, wrote Wednesday on Twitter that there is “zero chance” of any team paying Garoppolo close to $25 million for this season but added, “If he can stay healthy he will be a great acquisition for the right team.”