The 49ers have been in the media’s crosshairs since they blew a 10-point lead in Super Bowl LIV. Fingers would be pointed across the board from head coach Kyle Shanan’s play-calling to Robert Saleh’s defense being too predictable. However, San Francisco’s quarterback play was not good enough to win the game.
Jimmy Garoppolo is a serviceable quarterback, but his limitations have held the Niners’ vertical passing game back for years. In addition, Garoppolo’s health and sub-par play forced San Francisco’s front office to question if he was indeed the QB for the future.
Ultimately, Garoppolo’s multiple ankle injuries ended his season in 2020, and general manager John Lynch would mortgage the future by moving up and drafting Trey Lance the following offseason.
Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk has been up and down on the second-year San Francisco quarterback. Florio questioned if it was worth trading up for Lance because “he couldn’t beat the guy they’re trying to get rid of.” That tone would change as he thought about all of the success quarterbacks have had in their second year in the NFL.
Recently, you can point to Cincinnati Bengals QB Joe Burrow as the latest example of that. Burrow reached the Super Bowl despite having one of the worst offensive lines in the league. DeMeco Ryans’ defense witnessed Burrow attack the secondary late last season.
Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, and Russell Wilson all shined early because they were allowed to play. It makes no sense to keep Garoppolo on the roster after you went all in to draft Lance. The questions around Lance will linger until Garoppolo is off the roster, then Lance will be held to one of the higher standards across the NFL.
Lynch should be fired if Garoppolo is on the roster next year. Lynch addressed the lack of a top cornerback on the roster but signed several special teamers when the team had several holes elsewhere. “They are going to address it in the draft!”
Will they? I mentioned the front office has lucked up with later-round picks, i.e., Elijah Mitchell, Jauan Jennings, George Kittle, and D.J. Jones, but you are not going to get starters or impact players in later rounds every year.
If Lynch had been more aggressive during free agency, I probably wouldn’t be whining but its time to go all-in for the Niners’ sixth Lombardi trophy. The NFL has seen quarterbacks have success early in their career when the roster is built around them. Luckily, this draft class is deep with pass catchers that can impact San Francisco’s offense.