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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmy Garoppolo: Familiarity could sway me to return to 49ers

Dec 2, 2022 at 6:07 PM--

It seems unlikely that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would opt to return to the San Francisco 49ers in 2023. Of course, no one predicted that he would be on the roster come Week 1 of this season, either. Even Garoppolo fully anticipated being elsewhere.

There was some interest from other teams throughout training camp, but nothing came to fruition. That left Garoppolo and the 49ers kind of stuck with one another. So the two agreed to extend the marriage for one more season. San Francisco restructured Garoppolo's remaining year on his contract, allowing the quarterback to return as Trey Lance's backup.

It worked out for both sides. Garoppolo is having a solid season, increasing his value for the upcoming offseason—an offseason in which the 49ers can't utilize the franchise tag on the quarterback. For San Francisco, having Garoppolo as an insurance policy paid off. When Lance went down with a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2, the team's season wasn't lost.

While Garoppolo would never wish an injury on a teammate or friend like Lance, the situation worked out for the quarterback. Garoppolo has been with the team since 2017. He is a locker room favorite. There is a great deal of familiarity between him, his teammates, and his coaches.

"I think things have a way of working out. That's just how it is," Garoppolo told reporters this week.

Garoppolo is setting himself up for a nice payday next March when free agency kicks off. Several teams will likely be looking for a starting quarterback, maybe even some who passed on Garoppolo this past offseason and regretted doing so. But could the quarterback's familiarity with the 49ers, Shanahan's offense, and his fondness for his teammates entice a return to Santa Clara in 2023? Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle asked Garoppolo that question this week.

"I think it would sway me, definitely, a little bit," Garoppolo told Silver. "But we'll approach that when we get to the situation. We've just got to keep playing good football, and things will take care of themselves."

What would it take for the 49ers to rethink the plan to continue on with Lance and shift back to Garoppolo? One respected beat writer addressed that this week while speaking with 49ers Webzone's Brian Renick.

"I think the only scenario where he comes back is if he leads this team to a Super Bowl victory," Matt Barrows of The Athletic told Renick during an interview on the No Huddle Podcast.

Super Bowl victory. Not a deep playoff run. Not another Super Bowl appearance. It might take a Super Bowl win for the organization to consider bringing Garoppolo back.

"Because if he doesn't [win it all], then we're back to 2019," Barrows continued. "It's like, 'He's good, but he can't win the big game against a Patrick Mahomes or a Josh Allen.' I feel like Jimmy Garoppolo could set the world on fire between now and February 12, and if he's flat on February 12, or even they lose the game—you mention 49ers Twitter—they'll turn on him. I feel like that's the only scenario where he comes back."

You can listen to the entire interview with Barrows below.


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