Jimmy Garroppolo is running the offense again in San Francisco after second-year quarterback Trey Lance suffered a horrific ankle injury Sunday, similar to Dak Prescott’s in 2020, during the Niners’ 27-7 win over the Seattle Seahawks. He was carried off the field late in the first quarter with the Niners leading 3-0.
Lance will miss the rest of the season, making this another lost year for him early in his NFL career. He had surgery Monday morning and, according to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the injury isn’t as bad as Prescott’s was a couple of years ago. However, he will still miss the rest of the 2022 campaign.
During the offseason, the hottest team on the West Coast, as far as drama goes, were these 49ers. If it wasn’t the controversy with Lance and Garoppolo, it was the conversation about Deebo Samuel’s contract extension and the potential commercial value of him along with Jimmy’s. Neither man was traded, one getting the extension he asked for and the other restructuring his deal.
In his first game back on the field, Jimmy G has already hit one of the clauses in his restructured contract. For each game that Garoppolo plays more than 25 percent of San Francisco’s offensive snaps, he earns a $250k bonus. If the team also wins that game, it nets Garoppolo another $100k for a total of $350k.
That’s not a bad deal for Garoppolo, since his position with the team had been in question going back to the end of last season. Although most felt Garoppolo was still the best option the Niners had in their QB room, others (including Kyle Shanahan) felt the team needed to see what Lance had and how much he had improved from his rookie year to his current one. While things have progressed slowly, the Niners must now spend another year not knowing precisely what they have in Lance.
With Jimmy G back in charge as the undisputed starting quarterback in San Francisco, the team’s chances of making another NFC run slightly improved. the 49ers the odds of winning the Super Bowl have gone from +2000 to +1800 in points bet. Garoppolo was able to help lead the Niners to the NFC Championship game last season, which they came close to winning.
For Lance, there was a testing period, and the offense was still figuring out. There is familiarity with Jimmy G as they have gone to two of the last three NFC title games with Garoppolo leading the way with a Super Bowl appearance. The Niners were on their way to winning their sixth Super Bowl, winning 20-10 early in the fourth quarter. Then the 49ers collapsed and gave up 21 unanswered points to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, losing Super Bowl LIV, 31-20.
There had been talk of reinserting Garoppolo into the lineup, but it came much quicker than anyone imagined. The 49ers are likely to be among many analysts’ favorites to compete for the NFC crown. Soon, we’ll be hearing the whole Kyle Shanahan “genius” speech again, this time for having the foresight to hang on to Jimmy G. There wasn’t much of an exchange, though. market for Garoppolo in the offseason, but don’t let facts get in the way of a good story.
The fact is Garoppolo is a good quarterback, not a great one, and we’ve seen him peak in San Francisco. They should be good enough to contend for the NFC West title and make the playoffs again. Regardless, Jimmy G is who he’s always been. As long as no one more important goes down and the offensive line protects Garoppolo, the Niners will be in contention in ’22.
You hate to see this scenario for any player, especially a young one like Lance. He was already catching up because he didn’t play much college football and he barely hit the field last season. Now the fans and the team have to wait another year to see what this kid can do for an entire season.
Let’s not forget that Garoppolo is a free agent after the ’22 season. Unless something changes, Lance will be the man again once he returns, with no one looking over his shoulder.