Many argued that when the 49ers traded up to choose quarterback Trey Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft, it marked the beginning of the end for Jimmy Garoppolo’s stay in San Francisco. After losing to the Rams in the NFC title game on Sunday, the quarterback was asked if this could be his final game with the team, but he stated he doesn’t know what the future holds.
“(The emotions) hit pretty hard in the locker room. … Just one of those things, you gotta be glad it happened, just smile from it and think about the good things,” Garoppolo stated.
“We’ll see what happens in these next couple days, weeks, whatever. But I love this team.”
Support from teammates
The speculation over whether or not Garoppolo’s time with the franchise was coming to an end didn’t seem to hinder his performance, as he nearly guided his team to a second Super Bowl trip in three seasons before falling short in Sunday’s 20-17 loss.
Garoppolo was 4-2 in six career playoff starts after completing 16 of 30 throws for 232 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception.
Pittsburgh makes the most sense to me, stylistically. Canada can deploy some of the concepts he’s been itching to run. https://t.co/1bdu5U10Zh
— Mina Kimes (@minakimes) January 31, 2022
“Nobody wants to be in the position he was in,” offensive lineman Trent Williams commented. “But you couldn’t tell. He handled it like a class act. I’m proud of him. A brother for life.”
Garoppolo chuckled as he told the press after the game that he wasn’t certain how he managed to accomplish so well this season given the uncertainty, but he appreciated his teammates for their contributions.
— NFL (@NFL) January 31, 2022
He finished with a passer rating of 87.1 after going 16-of-30 for 232 yards, two touchdowns, and an interception. He made some key throws, including a 16-yard touchdown ball to tight end George Kittle that put the Niners up by ten points. He also made a few errors, such as missing a wide-open Kittle in the first quarter on a play that could have resulted in a long score.
The majority of Garoppolo’s problems came from a clean pocket, which he had for the majority of the first three quarters, during which the Rams only made four pressures on 22 dropbacks. But as Aaron Donald, Von Miller, and company stepped up the heat in the fourth quarter, Garoppolo was at a loss for words.
Garoppolo was pressured on seven of his nine fourth-quarter dropbacks, finishing 2-of-7 with an interception. He concluded the season with an NFL-high eight interceptions when under pressure, five of which came since Week 18.
#49ers estimated to be in the ballpark of $7M over the salary cap next year once they get up to 51 players. Will pick up about $25M in cap space if Garoppolo is cut/traded.
— Jason_OTC (@Jason_OTC) January 31, 2022
Tough loss for Shanahan
Parting ways with Garoppolo will be difficult. Since Kyle Shanahan’s arrival in 2017, the Niners have gone 35-16 when Garoppolo starts and 8-31 when he doesn’t.
Following the loss, Shanahan did not exactly say farewell to Garoppolo but instead expressed gratitude. “I love Jimmy,” Shanahan said. “I’m not going to sit here and make a farewell statement or anything right now. There’s a lot of stuff on my mind.”
That was Jimmy Garoppolo’s last play as a 49er.
— Big CROCKY⚡️ (@eric_crocker) January 31, 2022
It’s unclear how long Shanahan will continue to mentor Garoppolo. Since the Niners traded up to No. 3 in last year’s NFL draft and selected Trey Lance, the writing has been on the wall for a quarterback change.