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Murph: The 49ers look unsettled

© Gary A. Vasquez | 2022 Jan 30

In searching for the right word to describe the current state of the 49ers, I have landed on this:


This is to describe a team that, just two short months ago to the day, would be described by words such as “inspired”, “tough-minded”, “clutch”, name your gushing adjective. Two months ago today, Jan. 16, 2022, they beat the Cowboys in Dallas as Elijah Mitchell ran for 96 yards and a touchdown and Deebo Samuel ran for 72 yards and a touchdown and Dak Prescott ran one yard too many for a ticking clock.

One week earlier, on Jan. 9. 2022, you could have used words like “thrilling” and “magical” as they went to L.A. and beat the Rams in a win-or-die game. And a week after Dallas, they went to Green Bay and played so poetically strong in the snow, I wound up commissioning and buying an oil portrait of Aaron Rodgers walking off into the Wisconsin winter night, crestfallen and disgusted.

Yes, that same 49ers team is now . . . unsettled.

Some of you might choose stronger descriptions, like “a total mess” and “choking their guts out.” That’s your prerogative, in this emotional sports world of 2022, where measured rationality and long-term patience is flushed down the social media toilet with so much gusto.

Here are the facts as the new league year began today at 1 pm, and you can decide.

— Jimmy Garoppolo, who counts $25 million against the 2022 salary cap, and is presumably NOT the 2022 starter, is still on the roster.

— His salary cap number is presumably preventing the 49ers from acquiring key position players, such as defensive line depth to replace DJ Jones, or offensive line depth to replace Laken Tomlinson.

— The 49ers were thought to be all but certain to have traded Garoppolo by now, netting both a decent draft pick in return, and freeing up space. They have not.

— Jimmy G’s decision to have shoulder surgery late in the process, presumably a surprise to the 49ers, has put a large, ugly fly in the ointment. Think Jeff Goldblum.

— DeShaun Watson rumors have bubbled up, causing many to wonder if he can be a 49er, causing many others to wonder just what the heck the 49ers were doing trading three No. 1s for Trey Lance if they are willing to move on from him less than a year later.

— Throw in the fact that coaches (Mike McDaniel, Wes Welker, Rich Scangarello) have fled the building like so many Californians fleeing cost of living exorbitance.

Add it up and you have Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch’s new experimental music album, “Unsettled” climbing up the charts.

Here’s the catch: the situation, she is fluid.

Already, there is talk that a Deshaun Watson destination could be decided in the next 24 hours. That could open a door for a Jimmy G trade. That could open the door for the salary cap. That could open the door for a draft pick in return. Chris Mortensen of ESPN has already suggested that the Cleveland Browns may be willing to trade for Jimmy if they don’t land Deshaun.

That could change “Unsettled” into “Much More Settled”.

But we live in a 24/7 sports talk world, whether on The Leader or YouTube or Twitter. In a 24/7 sports talk world, you live in the now. And the now is unsettled. The now is, the 49ers look like they did not have a plan for the Garoppolo surgery. The now is, the 49ers look like they may have overestimated his value in failing to consummate a trade. The now is, QB landing spots are drying up, and guys like Carson Wentz and Mitch Trubisky are getting gigs ahead of Jimmy.

Welcome to sports rage in 2022, Kyle and John. It’s unsettling.


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