In early 2020, fans of the San Francisco 49ers experienced a near Cinderella season. A once in a generation defense buoyed a potent finesse run attack, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo performed under pressure at critical moments to take the 49ers to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, that team couldn't overcome Patrick Mahomes and his magical offensive line who managed to hold off one of the greatest defensive lines ever assembled while committing barely any holding penalties. But though the 49ers and their fans were upset by the loss in the Super Bowl, most of us thought the team's window to return to the big game was wide open. Heck, the players and the organization believed it too, dubbing the 2020 season "The Revenge Tour."
ENTER COVID19 AND THE 2020 NFL SEASON!!!
Deforest Bucker was traded to Indianapolis. The NFL off-season was basically canceled. With less time to train and less organizational support to get their bodies ready to go, the 49ers season was lost in week 2, when stud defensive end Nick Bosa's knee was snapped by Jets' left tackle Mekhi Becton. It would take several weeks for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh to figure out how to compensate for the loss of the elite edge rusher, who was drafted by the 49ers only after Jimmy Garoppolo himself tore his ACL in 2018 triggering a different lost season.
Without Bosa and with the defense on its heels, the 49ers turned to the handsome king of Silicon Valley, Jimmy Garoppolo. Surely Jimmy G's ivory white smile, perfect jawline, five o'clock shadow, and media coveted swagger could elevate the Niners to the playoffs! Surely!!! But a few minutes later, Lanken Tomlinson missed a block on defensive lineman Quinnen Williams, who tackled Garoppolo below the knees rolling onto his ankle and causing a high ankle sprain that would linger in the star signal caller's leg through the remainder of the season. Garoppolo would finish 2020 on injured reserve going 3-3 in six starts. Three different quarterbacks would take snaps for the Niners in the 2020 season, and though the team showed heart and played as hard as they could, they could only muster a 6-10 outcome with a combination of Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard at the helm of Kyle Shanahan's post-modern west coast offense.
Success in the NFL is very much tied to the quarterback position. In 2017, Jimmy Garoppolo seemed like a savior come down from on high to lead the team to a stunning 5-0 finish to end a dismal season. But Jimmy's inability to stay on the field, combined with a loss of arm talent and some athletic ability post ACL surgery, has led many in the 49ers media-sphere to say Jimmy G is mediocre at best, and that the 49ers should move on from him as soon as possible.
I want more than anything for Jimmy G to be the guy. It felt so good watching him go 5-0 in 2017. I hadn't felt so good about the 49ers since the 1990s. I felt better about those 5 wins in 2017 than I felt about any of the Harbaugh teams. Seriously! As much as I want to see Jimmy succeed and lead the current 49ers offense (which is loaded with talent) to the promised land, I can't get over one very upsetting issue.
Jimmy Garoppolo is signed to a 5-year contract which is scheduled to cost the 49ers a total of $137 million. Over the last three seasons, Jimmy has started a total of 25 games and missed 23 games. Jimmy Garoppolo has missed 47% of his starts since inking his megadeal, and has cost the 49ers $85.8 million against the cap!
No wonder why so many 49ers pundits have been so quick to throw Jimmy under the bus! And on this matter, I have to agree with them! In an article for NBC Sports Bay Area, 49ers lead beat writer Matt Maiocco wrote: "How Jimmy G, 49ers could benefit from fans rallying behind QB."
I love Matt Maiocco and never miss his articles, and he is generally seen as being the closest journalist to the 49ers organization. He knows what he is talking about, though sometimes I think he may function as an extension of the 49ers PR department.
If Jimmy Garoppolo wants to gain charisma points with the 49ers fan base all he has to do is call his agent Don Yee, and have a conversation with Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch, and Paraag Marathe. He needs to explain to the brass how upset he is about missing 47% of the games that he has been handsomely paid to play in. Tell them that in the interest of winning Super Bowls, he wants to take a substantial pay cut so the team can re-sign critical free agents like Trent Williams, Kyle Juszcyk, DJ Jones, and Kerry Hyder.
Jimmy has already gotten paid a lot of money. He has dealt with a lot of pain and injury. He has fought for his teammates when he was on the field and was a critical component of their NFC Championship run in 2019. But look at the numbers. Jimmy has taken a lot of money and has missed a lot of time.
Jimmy should be generous, take a pay cut, and allow his teammates to get paid. Shore up that offensive line, and show the bombastic voices on 49ers twitter how good of a quarterback he can be behind a revamped O-line and a more complete defense.