Opinion: What Happens if Jimmy Garoppolo Has a Season to Remember With the 49ers in 2021?

Published 04/04/2021, 2:26 PM EDT
MIAMI, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 02: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after a touchdown of his team against the Kansas City Chiefs during the third quarter in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium on February 02, 2020 in Miami, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


The last couple of days must have been interesting for Jimmy Garoppolo. From his team, the San Francisco 49ers, giving up heavy draft capital to trade up this season’s draft ladder, to GM John Lynch publicly stating his team’s desire to draft a quarterback with the pick, one thing is clear, and that is Jimmy G’s future is uncertain. 

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Jimmy Garoppolo has seen his current franchise make the decision to move on from the quarterback, but in a roller coaster of events, 49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan said that Garoppolo remains in their plans. But for how long? 

The understanding is that the San Francisco 49ers are to draft a quarterback for the future. Be it Trey Lance, Mac Jones, Justin Fields, or Zach Wilson, the rookie is not going to be given QB1 duties right from the get-go.  

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Instead, the 49ers are likely to approach it much like the Miami Dolphins of last season. The Dolphins had success with the two-QB system of rookie Tua Tagovailoa and veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick.

In 2021, with a season under his belt, Tagovailoa is now the starting QB for the Dolphins and the veteran Fitzpatrick has moved on. 

A future where Jimmy Garoppolo takes 49ers back to the Super Bowl

A similar fate may await Jimmy Garoppolo. But what if, as Shanahan said, Garoppolo is “fired up” for next season. What if that fire motivates him to carry the San Francisco 49ers back to the Super Bowl?

One can’t say he hasn’t done it. The quarterback has shown that he can play winning football under Kyle Shanahan’s system. In 2019, the 49ers QB raked up close to 4,000 passing yards en route to Super Bowl LIV.  

So who’s to say, that he can’t do it again when fully fit? 

But even if Jimmy Garoppolo does manage to have a season where the 49ers are back in the Super Bowl, there’s little reason to believe he’ll be around for long. 

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Garoppolo’s game has two notable weaknesses. One of which is his dismal turnover rate. The QB has 51 touchdowns to his name with 26 interceptions.

Nearly half of those interceptions came in the season the 49ers made the Super Bowl.

The other facet of Garoppolo’s game that has let him down is his susceptibility to injury. The quarterback has struggled to stay fit through the course of a season. 

And multiple injuries eventually take a toll on quarterbacks. Just look at the case of the former Indianapolis Colts’ QB Andrew Luck. These two issues have been consistent with Garoppolo’s game. 

Rookie QB deal is the more lucrative option

For the San Francisco 49ers, from a financial standpoint, sticking with the QB would be the better option. The player they pick is obviously a huge investment for the franchise. 

Trading four draft picks, including three first-rounders for a rookie, shows the level of expectations the franchise has from the pick. And recent history has shown that teams with a versatile young QB on a rookie deal have done well.

Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson are all examples of the same. Garoppolo currently comes with a cap hit of reportedly $26.6 million in 2021.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – NOVEMBER 01: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts from the sidelines in the third quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 01, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

This figure is set to grow further to $27 million in 2022. Thus getting the rookie to get ready to take over from Garoppolo would save them a ton of cap space for the following season. 

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That chunk of change could then be used to dabble in the free agency market to bring in reinforcements for the young QB. Trading the QB that very year would also help them gain back some draft capital.

So the only way we see it is Jimmy Garoppolo heading to the exit door come 2022. Whoever the young QB is, the 49ers are clearly impressed enough to part with the heavy draft capital they did.

And Kyle Shanahan too wouldn’t want to hold back a potential franchise QB on the bench for long.  

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Shivayan Roy

558 articles

Shivayan Roy is currently an NFL writer at EssentiallySports. After completing his Masters Diploma in Journalism from the Asian College of Journalism, Roy functioned as a reporter for Goal.com and extensively covered the FIFA U-17 World Cup.

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