The 49ers seem intent on holding onto Jimmy Garoppolo for another year despite the blockbuster trade, but moving him earlier makes sense.
The San Francisco 49ers made a huge move to change the future of the franchise by presumably selecting a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, which they acquired in a blockbuster trade with the Miami Dolphins.
What does the trade mean for the Niners’ current starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo?
Garoppolo has failed to stay healthy and is an expensive player to keep on the roster for minimal production on the field. Although general manager John Lynch and Co. have told both Garoppolo and reporters that Jimmy G is still in the plans for 2021, the 49ers should move on sooner rather than later.
Shortly after the trade was announced, NFL Network’s Steve Wyche caught up with Lynch at BYU quarterback Zach Wilson’s pro day. Lynch said the first thing they did as the trade was finalized was to call Garoppolo to inform the quarterback he was still in San Francisco’s plans.
But when Lynch was pressed more about the possibility of trading Jimmy G, Wyche said they are definitely open to the possibility of a trade:
Why it makes sense for 49ers to move Jimmy Garoppolo now, not later
Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan are ready to move on from Garoppolo. And while Garoppolo’s ceiling within the offense is a question mark, the quarterback having missed nearly two of the last three years with injuries appears to be the bigger reason why.
With Shanahan’s great offensive mind and use of the play-action pass with offensive threats like tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, a young quarterback with a cannon is just what Shanahan needs.
Shanahan’s play-calling is very limited with Garoppolo. He throws short screens and slants because he has shown he can’t air the ball out down field.
Last season when Garoppolo was out with a high-ankle sprain, Shanahan started to spread the ball out more with Aiyuk and now-New England Patriots wide receiver Kendrick Bourne. Even with all the injuries the 49ers had, Shanahan was able to get the ball down field easier.
It could be argued that Shanahan started losing faith in Jimmy G the year the Niners went to the Super Bowl. During the NFC Championship game against the Green Bay Packers, San Francisco rushed all over behind running back Raheem Mostert’s 220 yards and four touchdowns. In that win, Garoppolo only tossed eight passes. Was that because the run game was working or because Shanahan didn’t want to put the ball in Jimmy G’s hand?
Garoppolo has been good, not necessarily great, when healthy. But he has been plagued by injuries ever since and has struggled to get the ball to receivers downfield.
Shanahan is looking for a younger and less expensive option.
Niner Noise’s writer Robert Morrison broke down how a would-be Garoppolo trade prior to June 1 would affect the 49ers’ cap situation. The Niners could save cap space if a trade is made, $23.6 million, according to Over the Cap. That could be another reason for a trade if the Niners receive an offer they can’t refuse before June. And while Jimmy G could very well serve as the bridge quarterback to whomever San Francisco selects in the NFL Draft, whether it’s Wilson, NDSU’s Trey Lance, Ohio State’s Justin Fields, or even Alabama’s Mac Jones.
The concern then is will Garoppolo want to continue playing for the 49ers, knowing he isn’t the long-term option?
Garoppolo should use the Niners’ blockbuster trade as fuel to improve his play. San Francisco said it’s still Garoppolo’s team, but this trade is showing other wise.
Jimmy Garoppolo still has a chance to be a good quarterback and should embrace the role of mentor if that’s what San Francisco chooses to do. But even if he begins the season as the starter, he most likely won’t be there for long.