A homecoming for Jimmy Garoppolo?
Since the 49ers quarterback isn’t likely to play for the remainder of the 2020 season as he deals with a nagging ankle injury, many fans have wondered if we’ve seen the last of Garoppolo in a 49ers uniform.
ESPN NFL analyst Bill Barnwell detailed a number of potential offseason scenarios for NFL teams, and one involves the 49ers sending the 28-year-old back to the franchise that drafted him for a 2021 fifth-round draft pick.
“The Niners get a draft pick in lieu of cutting Garoppolo, and the Eastern Illinois product reunites in the other conference with a coaching staff desperately in need of a long-term option. This is an easy victory,” Barnwell writes.
In his only full season as the 49ers’ starting QB, Garoppolo led San Francisco to Super Bowl LIV, where they were a few miscues away from taking down Patrick Mahomes and the mighty Kansas City Chiefs. But as injuries have cut short both his 2018 and 2020 campaigns, there remain questions about whether Jimmy G indeed is a franchise signal-caller that can lead a team to a Super Bowl victory.
The 49ers’ outstanding defense and dominant running game won them both of the team’s playoff games in 2019, as Garoppolo had just 27 pass attempts over two postseason wins on the way to Super Bowl LIV.
Injuries decimated San Francisco’s roster this year, as Garoppolo was joined by George Kittle, Richard Sherman and Deebo Samuel among others who spent time on injured reserve. Due to the team’s diminished record in 2020, fans have begun looking to the loaded 2021 QB draft class for hope.
Players like BYU’s Zach Wilson and Alabama’s Mac Jones — who was named a Heisman finalist on Thursday — have been linked to the 49ers in numerous mock drafts.
With other glaring needs along the roster outside of the QB position, a fifth-round draft pick would give the 49ers additional capital to improve along the offensive line and in the secondary.
Garoppolo would get a fresh start with the organization that selected him in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft, as New England hasn’t gotten what it was hoping for from Cam Newton this season.
It’s not often that players are traded to one team and then traded back just a few years later, but in an ideal world, this could be a win-win for both teams.
That is, if the 49ers find the right option at QB to replace Garoppolo. There likely will be a handful of both veterans and draft picks available to general manager John Lynch, but remember that he traded a second-round pick for Garoppolo back in 2017.
It will be a fascinating offseason for the 49ers, but with some postulating that the organization might release Garoppolo this offseason given his contract, this could at least bring back some kind of return for shipping Garoppolo off.