Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Young disappointed injury likely means 49ers-Garoppolo split; Why McFarland believes team has confidence in Purdy

Dec 6, 2022 at 10:48 AM--

Jimmy Garoppolo's value may have plummeted for the second time in nine months. The San Francisco 49ers quarterback suffered a season-ending foot injury during Sunday's win over the Miami Dolphins. Most expected him to be a hot name entering free agency.

Even if teams aren't worried about Garoppolo's most recent injury, they may be concerned about his track record of failing to stay on the field. Teams were scared off in March when Garoppolo opted to undergo shoulder surgery, leading to a lack of trade interest and the quarterback having to sign a restructured one-year deal to remain with the 49ers.

It looked like everything was going to work out. Garoppolo and the Niners were rolling and looked like genuine Super Bowl contenders. The defense is the best in the league. With Garoppolo turning in a solid season, head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch were all in, evident by the trade to acquire running back Christian McCaffrey.

Some speculate that the injury could lead to Garoppolo returning to the 49ers in 2023. If teams were scared off in March because of injury concerns, this latest setback might make them hesitate again. Maybe the best bet is returning to Santa Clara, where Garoppolo is familair with the system and fond of his teammates.

One ESPN analyst fears this is the end of the Garoppolo-49ers marriage, though.

"The burgeoning relationship with Kyle Shanahan, this is what's so devastating about yesterday (Sunday)," Steve Young said on ESPN's Monday Night Countdown ahead of yesterday's primetime matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints, "is that after all the years together, and the divorce that they had, and they came back together, I started to sense that there was a reason for them to stay together long-term. And now, because of that, because of his injury, and another season with an injury, I don't think it's going to happen in San Francisco. So that's probably going to break in the end."

Garoppolo has played a full season just once since being traded to the 49ers in 2017. They went to the Super Bowl that season (2019), and looked primed to return to the big game. Will yet another significant injury overshadow the positives of this season's Garoppolo-49ers partnership.

"But it's unfortunate because I think they were starting to build something really special between the two of them," Young noted.

Anything can happen between now and the start of the 2023 season. Look at this past offseason. No one figured Garoppolo would be on the roster come Week 1. Not Shanahan, not Lynch, and not even Garoppolo. But for that to happen two years in a row might be a tall order.

The 49ers have a lot of faith in Brock Purdy. Assuming the team moves forward with Trey Lance as the starting quarterback, there is a lot of confidence that Purdy can be QB2. There was confidence that Purdy could fill that role this season. So much belief that the 49ers were comfortable entering the 2022 season with Purdy as Lance's backup had Garoppolo not returned.

Another ESPN analyst, Booger McFarland, said Shanahan's confidence in Purdy showed on Sunday against the Dolphins.

"He threw the football 37 times yesterday (Sunday)," McFarland said. "That tells me one thing: Kyle Shanahan believes in this young man, and he's not afraid. And as long as they believe in him, and Fred Warner and that defense believes in him ... belief on a football team will go a lot further than talent."

Young added, "And he didn't have to [throw that many times] because that defense was lock-down."


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