It might be the end of the Jimmy Garoppolo era in San Francisco, and that’s okay

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The Eagles might dispute this, but has any NFL team been snake-bit by injuries more than the 49ers in 2020? Edge-rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, cornerback Richard Sherman, center Weston Richburg, safety Jimmie Ward… the list goes on and on. After San Francisco’s 37-27 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, it was announced that both tight end George Kittle and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would miss serious time — Kittle with a foot injury, and Garoppolo with an ankle issue he’s been dealing with most of the season.» data-reactid=»6″>The Eagles might dispute this, but has any NFL team been snake-bit by injuries more than the 49ers in 2020? Edge-rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, cornerback Richard Sherman, center Weston Richburg, safety Jimmie Ward… the list goes on and on. After San Francisco’s 37-27 loss to the Seahawks on Sunday, it was announced that both tight end George Kittle and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would miss serious time — Kittle with a foot injury, and Garoppolo with an ankle issue he’s been dealing with most of the season.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Garoppolo might make it back for the last couple of games of the 49ers’ season, but when it comes time for the 2021 league year, and the attendant accounting thereof, he’ll be the epicenter of a major decision. Per OverTheCap.com, when the fourth year of Garoppolo’s five-year, $137.5 million contract, he’ll have a cap number of $26.9 million — the 11th-highest in the league — but just $2.8 million in dead money if he’s cut. .» data-reactid=»7″>Garoppolo might make it back for the last couple of games of the 49ers’ season, but when it comes time for the 2021 league year, and the attendant accounting thereof, he’ll be the epicenter of a major decision. Per OverTheCap.com, when the fourth year of Garoppolo’s five-year, $137.5 million contract, he’ll have a cap number of $26.9 million — the 11th-highest in the league — but just $2.8 million in dead money if he’s cut. .

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Over his nearly four seasons in San Francisco, Garoppolo’s injuries and limitations have prevented him from becoming the franchise quarterback head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch clearly thought they were getting. He’s started just 33 games, including the postseason, with the 49ers, and while he ranks 10th in Adjusted Net Yards per Pass Attempt from 2017 through 2020 at 6.98, he’s tied with Josh Allen with a 46-touchdown, 26-interception ratio. Allen was drafted in 2018, and it wasn’t until 2020 that the light went on. Garoppolo’s touchdown rate of 5.2% ranks 11th among all starting quarterbacks through that time frame, but his interception rate of 2.94% is the eighth-worst of that particular era.» data-reactid=»8″>Over his nearly four seasons in San Francisco, Garoppolo’s injuries and limitations have prevented him from becoming the franchise quarterback head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch clearly thought they were getting. He’s started just 33 games, including the postseason, with the 49ers, and while he ranks 10th in Adjusted Net Yards per Pass Attempt from 2017 through 2020 at 6.98, he’s tied with Josh Allen with a 46-touchdown, 26-interception ratio. Allen was drafted in 2018, and it wasn’t until 2020 that the light went on. Garoppolo’s touchdown rate of 5.2% ranks 11th among all starting quarterbacks through that time frame, but his interception rate of 2.94% is the eighth-worst of that particular era.

Moreover, and this is especially true when a quarterback has a head coach and offensive play-designer of Shanahan’s quality, Garoppolo has not come close to maximizing his opportunities in San Francisco’s offense. Coaches will say all kinds of things about how much they believe in their players, but you’ll know how they really feel when you see what happens on the field. In the 2019 postseason, Garoppolo attempted just 58 passes, completing 37, for 427 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. He has seven touchdowns and five interceptions this season, which was the same total he had in his first season with the 49ers, and a lot of the problems he had in 2017 are the same problems he has now.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="All you have to do to limit Garoppolo’s effectiveness is to mush-rush the edges so it’s harder for him to boot outside, and muddy the middle reads so he has to think beyond his capabilities. In football parlance, Garoppolo is not, and has never been a comfortable “Middle of the Field Closed” (MOFC) thrower. If things don’t make sense to him over the middle, bad things are going to happen. This interception by Patriots safety Devin McCourty in Week 7 is a perfect example.» data-reactid=»14″>All you have to do to limit Garoppolo’s effectiveness is to mush-rush the edges so it’s harder for him to boot outside, and muddy the middle reads so he has to think beyond his capabilities. In football parlance, Garoppolo is not, and has never been a comfortable “Middle of the Field Closed” (MOFC) thrower. If things don’t make sense to him over the middle, bad things are going to happen. This interception by Patriots safety Devin McCourty in Week 7 is a perfect example.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Pre-snap, the Patriots showed a Cover-0 look — a man-based blitz concept with no deep safety. But McCourty dropped to the deep third, safety Terrence Brooks worked to rob the middle, and Garoppolo threw behind Kittle for an easy pick. You see this a lot from Garoppolo and other rudimentary quarterbacks — they throw late, and throw their receivers closed — because their processing speed does not match the speed of the game.» data-reactid=»15″>Pre-snap, the Patriots showed a Cover-0 look — a man-based blitz concept with no deep safety. But McCourty dropped to the deep third, safety Terrence Brooks worked to rob the middle, and Garoppolo threw behind Kittle for an easy pick. You see this a lot from Garoppolo and other rudimentary quarterbacks — they throw late, and throw their receivers closed — because their processing speed does not match the speed of the game.

This is not to say that Jimmy Garoppolo is an awful quarterback. But he has never been transcendent, and when you’re talking cap hits of this magnitude, and missed opportunities on offense with the best offensive play-caller in the NFL, and it’s impossible to think that the 49ers couldn’t do better. And given the money involved, it’s nearly impossible to think that they haven’t already thought that.