LA Rams rival 49ers opened can of worms with Lance, Garoppolo pairing

Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

It was tough not to notice the quarterback chaos of the LA Rams NFC West Division rivals San Francisco 49ers this season. From the opening moment when the team committed to going with young and untested quarterback Trey Lance, and openly declared that the team would trade former starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, trouble began to brew.

It wasn’t that the 49ers organization had nefarious plans underfoot. They were all well-meaning intentions. But isn’t the road to hell paved with good intentions? Now don’t get me wrong, the San Francisco is an NFL organization that has truly mastered finding the right players to suit what they want to do both on offense and on defense.

But when it comes to how the team handled their quarterback situation, they appear to have fallen face-first into a huge cow paddy. Now, the only question that remains is whether they come out smelling like a rose, or cow dung. And the LA Rams will have a lot to say about that.

How not to avoid a quarterback controversy

The chaos began when the 49ers committed to trading away Garoppolo. But the veteran quarterback opted to have corrective surgery on his throwing should, eliminating any trade market value that he may have had in the off-season.

With no trading option, the 49ers’ front office was forced to pivot from trading Garoppolo to reworking his contract. While they managed to reduce his base salary significantly, Garoppolo’s contract is not incentivized so heavily that he can triple his compensation this season by playing and leading the team to the playoff. But, as a backup, that would be unlikely, right?

Well, that’s all changed now. 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is starting and incentivized to the hilt. Per, his base salary this season is $6.5 million plus a roster bonus of $500K, plus a workout bonus of $600k, plus an incentive bonus of $600k. And then, there are all of these additional incentives. Right now, he chalks up an additional $250k per game (eventually adding another $5 million to his earnings).

$250,000 per game where he takes 25% of snaps ($100,000 more per win)
$500,000 with 50% snaps in a playoff game
Extra $500,000 with 50% snaps in the NFC Championship game
Extra $500,000 with an NFC Championship win
Extra $1M with 50% snaps in the Super Bowl

With contract incentives like that, was there really any surprise that he is starting for the 49ers once more?

Playing both sides of the fence

The thing to keep in mind right now is that young quarterback Trey Lance is injured and out for the season. Regardless of what the 49ers do this season, all signs point to his return and assuming the starting quarterback role for the team next season. But the rhetoric that is forming around Jimmy Garoppolo has got to be shaking his confidence.

Look at this one, for example.

But the problems do not end there. Because the 49ers committed to young quarterback Trey Lance to start this year, he’d had the lion’s share of the work with the team’s starters. While that is not a huge hurdle to overcome with a veteran quarterback like Jimmy Garoppolo, it does open the door to some level of growing pains and rust as he is now leading the team once more.

Can the LA Rams exploit the pain and chaos that the 49ers are going through right now? Perhaps.  The 49ers have historically used the game against the Rams as a rallying cry to regroup and put on their best game of the season. That could mean that the LA Rams are in for the battle of their lives in Week 4.

But this may be a bit different. The Rams defeated the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game the last time that these two teams met. The LA Rams also boast inside linebacker Bobby Wagner, who has historically played some of his best games against the 49ers. And best of all, Jimmy Garoppolo knows that the San Francisco 49ers are no longer his team. He is just holding down the fort until young quarterback Trey Lance heals up.

LA Rams Bobby Wagner? The Week 4 stage is set for you. light. Hot