Jimmy Garoppolo (finally) departs 49ers, joins Raiders in free agency

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

Perhaps a year later than expected, Jimmy Garoppolo is finally leaving the 49ers and will join the Raiders as their new free-agent quarterback.

It’s officially the end of a pretty noteworthy period in San Francisco 49ers history.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo won’t be coming back to the Niners in 2023, despite what some may have speculated. And while the same storyline could have played out a year ago when San Francisco was actively trying to trade him, Garoppolo’s free-agent status this offseason all but eliminated whatever desire the 49ers would have had to retain him this go-around.

Considering the awkwardness Garoppolo experienced with the Niners since 2021, it’s hard to envision him wanting to stay anyway.

Regardless, whatever questions that lingered about him staying were answered quickly in the opening wave of NFL free agency on Monday.

Instead of sticking with the red and gold, Jimmy G will be trading in his uniforms to don the silver and black.

Jimmy Garoppolo to join Raiders in NFL free agency

There was a chance that Garoppolo’s market would be limited. After all, he landed on season-ending injured reserve in three of his six seasons with San Francisco, and the 49ers offense actually improved by a margin of over eight points per game after Jimmy G went down with a foot ailment in Week 13 and rookie quarterback Brock Purdy took over.

That said, the Las Vegas Raiders were rumored to be in pursuit of Garoppolo leading up to NFL free agency, and it made some modest sense.

For starters, Vegas released its own embattled quarterback, Derek Carr, whom the New Orleans Saints subsequently signed to a lucrative deal. On top of that, Garoppolo would be able to reunite with his former offensive coordinator with the New England Patriots, Josh McDaniels, who is now the Raiders’ own head coach.

Now, Garoppolo will get his money in a three-year, $67.5 million deal with $34 million guaranteed, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

Related Story: Jimmy Garoppolo can jump for joy at Derek Carr’s deal with Saints

The Houston Texans were also reportedly in the hunt for Garoppolo’s services, yet Las Vegas ultimately won out in whatever bidding war existed there.

Meanwhile, the Niners now turn to Purdy and fellow quarterback Trey Lance heading into 2023.

Jimmy Garoppolo will leave a complex 49ers legacy

The awkwardness that surrounded Garoppolo, Lance and San Francisco from 2021 through the start of NFL free agency in 2023 is a difficult one to digest, but few would question how professional Jimmy G handled things.

On paper, Garoppolo leaves the 49ers with a 38-17 regular-season record and two NFC Championship game starts, winning one of them and losing the other while watching Purdy take the helm last January.

For some, Garoppolo was nothing but a winner for head coach Kyle Shanahan, while others didn’t hesitate to point out the quarterback’s limitations, injuries and the need to be carried by a strong running game and elite defense.

Both sides can be true.

Perhaps the best epitaph is to simply describe the fact that Garoppolo stabilized the quarterback spot (when healthy) for a significant period of time, and the Niners had a lot of success with him under center.

Even if he wasn’t the long-term answer.

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