It’s no longer a farfetched hypothetical. The idea that Jimmy Garoppolo might not be the 49ers quarterback in 2021 has turned into a very possible scenario.
Sunday certainly seemed like a tipping point for the enigmatic quarterback, who played one of the worst games of his career vs. Seattle before exiting with an ankle injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season. It’s a rock bottom moment in a downward spiral for Jimmy G, which began with questionable performances throughout last year’s postseason.
Still think the idea of the 49ers moving on for Garoppolo is premature? Just listen to 49ers beat writer Matt Maiocco, who told Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks on Monday that he doesn’t see San Francisco paying Garoppolo the $26.9 million he’s due next season.
“I don’t see at this point, especially with the cap going down by $20 million theoretically, them paying that kind of money to keep Jimmy Garoppolo around,” Maiocco began.
“After last year I understood why maybe they did, maybe they didn’t, go after Tom Brady. But I thought, and I think I’m wrong now, but I thought that was the proper decision. Go with the quarterback who turns 29 today instead of the quarterback who’s 43 years old, if what we saw last year in the first time starting 16 games was the baseline of where he would be.
“I mean he had a good season last year. He had a good solid season, but it’s almost as if he hasn’t improved from those first five games that he started in 2017. There are certain things that a quarterback just can’t improve overnight or improve markedly on and that’s the anticipation. The seeing and being decisive with your actions. We saw it in the Super Bowl. There were a couple plays there in the 4th quarter where he had guys open but he waited a split second to long, the window closes, Chris Jones gets his hand up, whatever the case may be.
“You saw it in Week 1 of this season against Arizona when he was 100 percent healthy, he missed some throws. Not just inaccurate, he was late on some throws when guys were open. Those are the kind of things that I’m sure drives Kyle Shanahan nuts.”
What about a contract restructure? Would the 49ers retain Garoppolo next season for less money?
“I would think at the quarterback position you’ve got to be either all in or all out. I just think if you go to him and say, ‘Hey take a pay cut,’ you’ve already told the rest of the team that we don’t want you. What do you do then? I doubt that he would do that. That would be a huge blow to a quarterback, especially a guy who wants to be seen as the leader.
“What do you do then? Do you bring in another quarterback to compete with him? I just think you have to call your shot early in the offseason. Maybe one of these quarterbacks Kyle Shanahan has had in the past, that he has a good relationship with, who he knows what he’s getting, maybe one of those guys shakes free and they trademark it or whatever the case may be.
“I don’t think you do that with a quarterback. It’s different with a guy like Jerick McKinnon, or a guy like Jason Verrett…but I just don’t think you do that with the quarterback position.”
Ultimately, Maiocco just doesn’t think Garoppolo and Kyle Shanahan are a great fit.
“I don’t think he’s perfect for this offense because the way Kyle Shanahan has his offense is, yes the running game is a big part of it, but it’s a bigger part of it when you can’t rely on your quarterback to do all the things that you want him to do. You have to then rely on the running game more.
“Kyle Shanahan’s offense is predicated on running the ball, sure, being balanced, but also when those deep shots are there and when guys are running wide open, he expects those plays to be made. This offense looks a lot different than that offense he had in Atlanta with Matt Ryan playing at a very high level that second season. Of course you remember that offense had Julio Jones, but this 49ers offense should have some big play capability, with guys running open down the field.
“I think Kyle Shanahan wants a quarterback who isn’t just a facilitator. He wants somebody, when those deep shots are available, you make the defense pay.”
Listen to the full interview below.