Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Albert Breer on if 2020 is a make-or-break year for Jimmy Garoppolo

Jul 2, 2020 at 8:30 AM--

There has been a lot of offseason criticism thrown on the shoulders of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. A lot. Probably more than necessary. It's understandable given how his 2019 campaign ended. Yes, he had a spectacular regular season. It was among the best in franchise history.

Everyone tends to look at the playoffs, though.

Garoppolo didn't do much during the 49ers' first two playoff games. In his defense, he didn't have to. The team put up dominating performances against the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. Garoppolo looked on his way to being named the MVP of Super Bowl LIV before...well...Patrick Mahomes happened, and Garoppolo stalled in the fourth quarter.

Then you have general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan admitting that they briefly flirted with the idea of pursuing Tom Brady.


In the end, the two took a hard look at the quarterback they already have and determined they were happy with Garoppolo, whom they saw as a better long-term fit for the 49ers.

Still, it's the offseason. Stories need to be written. Sports talk shows need With Brady out of the picture, some are already looking to next offseason, and speculating on Aaron Rodgers returning to the Bay Area.

There seems to be no end.

So what does that mean for Garoppolo? Is he really on the hot seat in 2020? That's what Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated was recently asked.

Yes, Garoppolo's contract offers some flexibility, explains Breer. The 49ers could move on from the quarterback without much consequence. None of his salary in the remaining years of his deal is guaranteed. Trading him, should they desire to do so, wouldn't have any obstacles.

Said Breer: "Now for the important part—the Niners confronted this reality in March when the chance to sign Tom Brady came up and, as part of the process, GM John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan went back and broke down a boatload of Garoppolo's tape over three or four days."

The result? They seemingly fell in love with Garoppolo all over again.

"We went back and took a hard look at Jimmy," Lynch told Breer in May; his words mirroring what he said during previous conversations. "We grinded for a period of three, four days. And I think we both came back and said, 'You know what? We've got the long-term answer in our building right now, and we feel really strongly about that.' As enticing as it might be—and we felt like it was a responsibility to take a look (at Brady), because that's a very unique situation—we did that, we talked with Jimmy, and told him just what we did.

"I think he appreciated that. And the great news is we're more convicted than ever that Jimmy's the guy that we want to work with going forward. We feel like he's got a lot more in him. Shoot, he was a huge reason we were in the Super Bowl last year, and why we have every intention of getting back and finishing the job."

What does Breer take away from the situation in Santa Clara and his offseason conversation with Lynch? Should fans be concerned that the 49ers might replace Garoppolo in the near future?

"So yeah, they have flexibility with Garoppolo," writes Breer. "But they also really like Garoppolo, which sometimes gets lost in the discussion."

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