Heading into the playoffs, the elephant in the room for the San Francisco 49ers was their quarterback situation moving past the 2021-22 season. Many people felt like Jimmy Garoppolo was done regardless of how far the Niners went in the postseason. Now that it’s all over for San Fran, it feels like everybody in the Bay Area has quickly moved on, barely 48 hours removed from the NFC championship loss to the Los Angeles Rams. The Morning Roast on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco had Brian Baldinger of the NFL Network on Tuesday morning for his take on the 49ers’ current QB situation.
Baldinger nailed it here, speaking to the Niners drafting Trey Lance last year and being on the clock for his rookie contract. Once you take a QB that high (Lance was selected third overall in 2021) in the draft, the clock starts, and you have a four-to-five-year window to build a winner around him while his contract is relatively cheap. The 49ers are heading into year two and don’t know exactly what they have in Lance.
The topic of Garoppolo’s future has been up for discussion all year on both a local and national level. Since training camp in August, fans around the Bay Area have been ready to see Lance take over the starting job. Surprisingly, Jimmy G started 15 of the Niners’ 17 games this year. Garoppolo’s health had been one of the knocks on him over the past couple of years, but he’s surely changed that narrative after the season he’s had. Plus, SF caught fire in the second half of the season, going 7-2 in their last nine regular-season games.
It really felt like this was an audition year for Garoppolo to catch the attention of another desperate general manager looking to hopefully save his job by bringing in a veteran QB. Jimmy may not do it in the most conventional way, but he’s been a winner as a starter for the 49ers, going 30-14 with the 49ers. He’ll probably never be the guy to throw 40 TDs in a year, but he can get you into the postseason.
But deep down, I’ve always felt the 49er faithful knew Jimmy G had hit his ceiling during that first playoff run to the Super Bowl against the Chiefs a few years ago. Last year he was hurt, missing 10 games, and this season under Garoppolo, they were on the cusp of a second Super Bowl appearance in three years before he threw it away into the arms of the Rams late in the fourth quarter.
Now the fans in Northern California will finally get what they’ve wanted all along. 49er fans went along for the ride, but most have begged to see more of Lance, and they’re going to get exactly that in 2022. Ultimately this move will pay off for SF as I see the Niners being right back in the same position in the next couple of years with Lance under center. That rookie deal will make it possible for them to improve the secondary, pay guys like Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa, plus add another weapon or two on offense for Lance. Garoppolo had a good run, but I don’t know anyone who expected him to be the long-term answer for the Niners. Them trading up for Lance sealed Jimmy’s fate. It’s just taken a little longer for the plan to unfold, but we’re here now, and Jimmy G has exited the building.