In what’s likely his final year with the 49ers, Jimmy Garoppolo can go one of either two different ways that’ll ultimately define his career.
On one hand, it can be easy to root for the guy. His looks, his smile, the bromance he enjoyed with tight end George Kittle. There’s the fact he helped engineer the Niners to their seventh Super Bowl appearance. And while his flaws were on full display late in that heartbreaking loss, Garoppolo’s 3,978 passing yards in 2019 — fourth best for a single season in franchise history — suggests he was far more than just a game manager.
On the other hand, though, Jimmy G does have his faults. There’s very little arm strength, a seemingly weekly inability to see a linebacker lurking over the middle of the field. And then there’s his injury history, which included a devastating ACL tear early in 2018 and multiple ankle injuries that kept him out of all but six games in 2020.
|4 yr||4 yr||SFO||31||30||22-8-0||596||883||67.5||7352||46||5.2||26||2.9||8.3||98.1||68||6||6|
|3 yr||3 yr||NWE||17||2||2-0-0||63||94||67.0||690||5||5.3||0||0.0||7.3||106.2||8||1||1|
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com
The latter reasons are what prompted San Francisco to go out and get North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft, fully pointing to the reality that Garoppolo’s days with the 49ers were numbered.
Yet the Niners have stuck by Garoppolo for now, indicating fully they plan on Jimmy G being the starter this season while Lance develops.
While there’s the outlying chance Lance never turns into a starting-caliber quarterback, all signs point to San Francisco wanting to move on, meaning 2021 could easily be Garoppolo’s swan song with the franchise.
Armed with a playoff-caliber roster, though, what chances does Jimmy G have of enjoying a career-defining year?
Niner Noise’s “Who is?” series takes a closer look.