But even more tricks were up their sleeve when former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was announced as the backup for their next game.
After struggling to stay healthy and win in clutch games with San Francisco, the Niners let Garoppolo walk in free agency. Vegas decided to take a chance and ultimately learned what we all knew: A consistently healthy Garoppolo was going to be a challenge.
From the very beginning, nothing was going right for Jimmy G. There were questions about if he could pass his physical after a foot injury. Then rumors about star wide receiver Davante Adams not being pleased with the new quarterback signing.
Now the Raiders find themselves sitting at 3-5 in the AFC West, and Garoppolo is once again playing best man as a younger, flashier quarterback steps up.
It’s been well-documented how Garoppolo faired in San Francisco. We all saw the missed throws in the playoffs, the costly interceptions, and the constant struggles of playing a full season. But he did lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance and into the postseason a few times, so he certainly earned a chance to explore free agency.
But, yikes. Does he wish he took a backup or even a third-string emergency roll with San Francisco now? He could still be getting a decent contract, not risking his body every week and mentoring current Niners quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold.
The 49ers could’ve easily had packages for Garoppolo if he demanded to be no less than a backup. He had chemistry with tight end George Kittle. Running back Christian McCaffery makes everyone look Hall of Fame caliber, so there’s no issue there, and with how wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk has emerged, there’s another target for Garoppolo.
49ers happy with offseason decision
It’s safe to say that general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan are sleeping well knowing their jobs are safe. They’ve decided to go with Purdy and Darnold. And, despite the team's current three-game losing streak, they’re still in a much better position now for the future than two years ago.
We knew the 49ers weren’t going to steamroll opponents like they used to in the 1980s and 1990s. The league is too talented for it to happen again. But it’s more refreshing knowing this low point is just a learning curve.
Everyone knows the 49ers have one of the most talented rosters on paper. They proved it with a five game winning streak to start the year. Even Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said San Francisco was the favorite to win it all (take that with a grain of salt, though).
It’s unfortunate for Garoppolo to continue to struggle. If only things had gone better for him in San Francisco, he might still be on a Super Bowl-contending team.
Instead, he’ll watch the Raiders from the sideline, providing the utmost professionalism and knowledge he can provide.