49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo recently revealed a stunning failure to realize that Football Is Business, Family by explaining that he didn’t ask to be released because he doesn’t like to ruffle feathers.
Doesn’t like to ruffle feathers? The team ruffled the hell out of them feathers by investing three first-round picks and a third-round pick in the acquisition of Garoppolo’s replacement.
Still, there’s a way that Garoppolo could have gotten out without having to ruffle feathers. If the out years of his contract had included an early trigger for the making of a major payment or the vesting of a significant guarantee, the 49ers would have had to make a decision in the middle of March, not in the end of August.
It’s a reminder to players and agents that there’s always benefit in seeking such protections. Maybe Don Yee tried. Or maybe both sides assumed as of 2018 that Garoppolo would be the long-term answer in San Francisco, and that he’d have a new contract before 2022.
Regardless, it’s a detail that should always be remembered when long-term contracts are being negotiated. Once the contract morphs into the year-to-year team-option phase, with none of the money guaranteed, it’s important to remove from the team the ability to do what the 49ers did to Garoppolo — squat on him and wait until he had no alternative to taking whatever the 49ers were willing to pay in order to keep him around as the understudy to Trey Lance.