The San Francisco 49ers have flexibility at the quarterback position this offseason. If they so choose, they could move on from Jimmy Garoppolo and clear nearly $24 million in cap space. While every team wants to have that kind of flexibility, it does brings with it some rather difficult questions about whether or not Garoppolo is the right man for the job going forward or should the Niners move in a different direction.
Kyle Shanahan said this week that he expects Garoppolo to be back in San Francisco in 2021, but that was hardly concrete as the head coach also threw in the caveat that “you can’t say anything with certainty.” The big knock on Garoppolo has been his durability. While he’s shown the capability of helping a team reach the Super Bowl, he’ll also have missed 23 games over his four-year tenure with the club. Weighing the pros and cons of Garoppolo is one of the biggest questions currently looming over the franchise as it closes out the regular season on Sunday.
While a move of this magnitude will be up to the 49ers brass, star tight end George Kittle did state the case for San Francisco to keep Garoppolo around going forward.
“At the end of the day, I play tight end here, and I just work here, but I think that I do have a little bit of a voice, and I’ve said multiple times that I just love playing football with Jimmy G,” Kittle said on KNBR Tuesday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “Our team is different when he’s out there, and that’s why it’s fun to play football with him because I think we both have big-time changes to our huddles when we’re both on the football field.
“I can’t say enough about the leader Jimmy G is, and how his presence changes how the team is feeling, how the team is going about its business, and how the team practices every day. Jimmy G is our quarterback, and moving forward, he’s our quarterback, and that’s all I really have to say about it.
“I’m going to go with the guy that took us to a Super Bowl and played at a high level the entire year. That’s my case for Jimmy G, and I think it’s a decent one.”
Dating back to 2017, the 49ers are 24-9 (including playoffs) with Garoppolo under center as the starter. When he’s not, the club is 7-26, which feeds into Kittle’s larger point. Prior to going down for the season, Garoppolo was 3-3 this season as the starter and completed 67.1% of his passes for 182.7 passing yards per game, seven touchdowns, and five interceptions.