Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers are ready to move on from their disappointing loss in last season’s NFC Championship. Will the team experience more success without their former starting quarterback?
Competing for an NFL championship requires a tremendous amount of work. Before teams can showcase their strengths on the gridiron, general managers, and coaching staffs across the league work diligently on improving their roster in the off-season.
While opposing franchises deliberate on who they believe should be their starting quarterback for the upcoming season, the 49ers have been weighing their options. Despite reaching the NFC championship last season the team believes it may be time for a switch at the helm.
Jimmy Garoppolo’s Journey to the Bay
Jimmy Garoppolo’s career as an NFL quarterback has been a roller coaster ride. After filling in for Tom Brady during the 2016 season, the second-round draft pick was shipped to the west coast to improve the 49ers’ offense. This mid-season trade between New England and San Francisco was made due to the lack of quarterback talent on the 49ers roster.
It didn’t take long for Kyle Shannahan to insert Garoppolo into the starting lineup. A few weeks after the trade finalized, the former East Illinois quarterback was under center again. With one minute remaining in the team’s week twelve matchup against the Seahawks, Jimmy Garoppolo took his first snap as a 49er. Three plays later, he threw his first touchdown pass.
Garoppolo’s one-minute audition under center was enough for San Francisco’s coaching staff to give him the starting role. His five-game winning streak to end the season gave John Lynch and his staff the reassurance they needed, solidifying that they made the right decision.
On February 8th, 2018, the San Francisco 49ers front office decided to make Garoppolo a building block in the team’s new foundation. His five-year, $137.5 million contract solidified the developing quarterback’s role in Kyle Shannahan’s offense.
For the first time since the Steve Young era, the Niners would have a franchise quarterback. As the team celebrated the signing of their new golden ticket, they were unaware of the slue of injuries that would hinder their progress.
The relationship between the 49ers and Garoppolo has been bittersweet since the celebration of his big contract. Injuries have consistently sidelined the eight-year veteran. According to ESPN.com, the 49ers franchise quarterback has only finished one NFL season since earning his highest paycheck.
Although the 49ers believe in Jimmy G’s abilities, the reassurance of having a healthy quarterback caused the franchise to bring in a solid replacement.
With the third pick in the 2021 NFL draft, the 49ers selected Trey Lance, a mobile gunslinger from North Dakota State University. Lance’s ability to make accurate throws and extend plays with his legs has caused the Niners to reconsider holding onto Jimmy Garoppolo’s talents.
Despite leading the Niners to two NFC championships and a Super Bowl appearance, the San Francisco 49ers have shown they are willing to part ways with their team captain. The need for quarterbacks throughout the league has played a significant part in this decision. If the 49ers decide to keep Garoppolo on the roster this season, they could miss out on acquiring good value for his talents.
Multiple NFL franchises are in search of a veteran quarterback who can come in and shift the projection of the 2022 season. The Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, and Washington Commanders would benefit from acquiring a leader such as Jimmy Garoppolo but what would happen to San Francisco’s quarterback depth?
Depending on an inexperienced quarterback to lead a team to brighter pastures is a risky move in the NFL.
Although Jimmy Garoppolo’s value in the trade market may be high at the moment, trading him would be a huge blow to the 49ers’ depth chart.