The Curious Case of Jimmy Garoppolo: The Unwanted Winner

It’s Friday, June 3rd, 2022 and Jimmy G rumors continue to swirl around NFL circles. The 9 year pro is 30 years old and should be in the "prime" of his career as most established quarterbacks in the NFL are at that point in their careers. Garoppolo has amassed almost 12,000 yards throughout his career with about 95% of those yards occurring the time with the Niners. However, his time with both the Niners and Patriots has been riddled with both major and minor injuries. So what has been the downfall? Have his injuries been the root of everything or is he simply not at top QB that has been overpaid? The question still seems to linger amongst most Niners fans. I believe his current team and playing situation has to deal with the market and his very unfriendly contract.

Let’s first go back to Garoppolo’s day at Eastern Illinois. Jimmy’s numbers at EIU were pretty damn good and his senior year was one of the best in college FCS history. I think the first red flag most people think is that he went to a small FCS school with no competition (As niner fans we better get over that since we just hedged our future on a QB from another FCS School…). With that being said he threw for over 5,000 yards and 53 TD’s to only 9 interceptions his last season at EIU. If you’ve only seen him as a niner, do yourself a favor and look up his highlights on YouTube from his time at EIU. It’s almost like looking at a different Quarterback. EIU primarily operated out of the gun and Garoppolo was slinging the ball all around the field. Most of his throws were on fades, go routes, deeper dig routes, corners and post patterns. Funny to me since a huge knock on him that last several seasons has been his ability to throw accurately down the field and even have the arm strength to make these throws on a consistent level.

That being said have a look at some of the pre-draft analysis of Garoppolo.

· Extremely quick release. The ball comes out of his hand very fast.

· Possesses an adequate NFL arm, spins a nice ball. Can drive the ball with enough velocity.

· Capable of dropping the ball into a bucket up to 45 yards downfield.

· Throws with good accuracy and velocity to the intermediate level of the field, delivering over the middle and outside the numbers.

· Is too easily fazed by pressure, must show more poise staring down the barrel of the gun at the next level.

· Poor pocket awareness, does not have a good feel for defenders and the space around him. Has happy feet, occasionally perceiving and reacting to an invisible pass rush.

· Looks awkward rolling to his left and generally does not make many plays on the move.

· Questionable toughness. Tends to shield his body prematurely when pass-rushers are bearing down on him. Had fumble issues in college, must be more aware of how far he lowers the ball.

A little amusing and funny to read these and see how they many proved to be accurate and have described Garoppolo’s time in the NFL. The entire 2021 Preseason through Postseason was consumed with the QB Controversy in SF. Is Lance going to start? Does Lance give us a better chance to win this year? The questions around Jimmy constantly swirled every week. First, it was is his arm strong enough? Why can’t he read zone coverage? Why does his pocket presence suck? Then the injury concerns started to play in. As a niner fan, this felt like the inevitable. Every year he’s been in the organization something has occurred that has either put him out for periods of time or has affected his on the field performance.

As a diehard Niner fan since birth, I can’t forget how Jimmy was a focal point in turning around the franchise in the years after Harbaugh. Growing up, going to games at Candlestick with my Dad were some of the best memories of my life, but lets not get it twisted... the Niners were horrible. As a kid you’re just happy to be at the game and not really aware of the skill sets of players and what actual successful and championship team needs to have in terms of positions and types of players. We had the year of Tomsula, then Chip Kelly. Just bad, BAD Football. When they traded for Garoppolo, they went 5-0 to finish the season, it finally gave the Niners some buzz around the franchise again, we didn’t have a lot but we had a young head coach and a Quarterback that seemed like he was able to make the throws needed to bring the franchise to the top of the NFC. For that Jimmy, I will always be thankful.

That brings to his contract. After the 5 game starting stint in 2017 they made him the highest paid QB in the NFL on an Annual Basis. Yes, you did just read that last sentence right. Since the good quarterback in the NFL are a diamond dozen can you really blame the niners for this at the time? Not really. But giving a QB who has only started 7 games more money that any other QB in the league at the time is too much. Now the contract is looming over their heads with 25 million sitting there as a backup that no one is willing to trade for. Why is that?

He’s proven that he "wins" games. But who is winning these games? 2021 proved it was pretty clear that our defense and Deebo carried the niners. You know in high school football when you have a really good player, but the rest of the team is just okay or suck? What do they do most plays? They give that guy the ball! Whether it’s a screen pass, a run, letting him lineup at wildcat QB, returning kicks, this guy does everything. Remind you of anyone this past season? I think most people praised Shanahan and McDaniel this year for the creative ways they got Deebo the ball, but at the end of the day it was purely out of necessity. A lot of which goes back to Garoppolo inconsistencies throughout the season OR the lack of faith in him to make big plays with his arm when needed.

The constant injuries have constantly impaired his ability, but his poor durability has proved to be his ultimate downfall. 2019 being the only season he fully played. That year he had 28 Total TD’s and 18 Total Turnovers. In his only healthy season are those elite numbers? No. Great Numbers? No. Then look at his playoff numbers. The 4-2 record will jump off the screen and make you think "Oh shit, this guy can lead a team!" Then you’ll see the 60% completion percentage, average yardage at 7.3 per completion and 4-6 TD to Interception ratio. Then you’ll think "WTF are we paying this guy this much??"

Unfortunately, with the injuries that he sustained this year he’s untradeable as there’s no market for a QB on the last year of his huge contract that has proven he isn’t clutch, durable, or has the arm talent of the top 12-15 QB’s in the league. It appears that they’re going to intend to trade him before the season starts, but it wouldn’t make a ton of sense for the Panthers, Seahawks, and Texans to give Niners the compensation they want for Jimmy.

What are your thoughts on the Jimmy G Era? A lot of ups and downs, one super bowl appearance, two big playoff runs. A lot of questionable decisions and throws. A lot of sprained "everything’s" and jammed thumbs. Also a lot of winning football.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Niners Nation's writers or editors.