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3 bold predictions for Jimmy Garoppolo after Trey Lance’s season-ending injury

NFL, Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers, Trey Lance

All eyes are now on Jimmy Garoppolo. Written off as just a reliever for the 2022 NFL season, it sure looks like Garoppolo is back in the San Francisco 49ers starting lineup after they lost Trey Lance to a season-ending injury.

On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers overcame adversity to overcome division foe Seattle Seahawks 27-7. Trey Lance, the starting quarterback, was hurt midway through the first quarter when his leg flexed in an unusual manner while being tackled on a red zone run while attempting to increase San Francisco’s early lead.

Lance had started the game 2 of 3 for 30 yards passing and 13 yards rushing, but his third carry resulted in him collapsing to the ground in a heap and eventually requiring to be taken off the field with his right leg in an air cast. He was immediately declared out of the game by the club, who classified the injury as an ankle sprain. Following the victory, head coach Kyle Shanahan stated Lance had a broken ankle and will be out for the season.

Jimmy Garoppolo, who stepped up brilliantly in relief for the second-year quarterback, took his position in the lineup. His touchdown pass was a 38-yarder to a wide-open Ross Dwelley, who was left alone in the Seattle secondary due to botched coverage. Garoppolo ended the day 13 of 21 for 154 yards and one touchdown through the air. Late in the fourth quarter, he scored again on a quarterback sneak.

Here are our three bold predictions for Jimmy Garoppolo after Trey Lance’s season-ending injury.

3. Jimmy Garoppolo starts and finishes the season

It’s a major setback for the 49ers, who were counting on Lance to raise their offensive game after Garoppolo led them to the NFC championship game in 2021. This offseason, the 49ers chose Lance over Jimmy Garoppolo as their starter, but they were unable to move their veteran all summer. Garoppolo’s contract was eventually restructured by the 49ers in order to retain him on the club as Lance’s backup and insurance policy in case of, well, a situation like this.

Garoppolo will be the 49ers’ starting quarterback for the rest of the season, as he has been for the previous five years. In that span, he led the Niners to 31 regular-season victories, two NFC Championship Game trips, and a trip to Super Bowl LIV.

Will Jimmy G lead them back to those spots this season? Unlikely, given the caliber of elites and rising teams in the NFC. The Rams, Buccs, Vikings, and Packers are top tier. The Giants are resurgent. The Bears, Eagles, and even Lions are rising, and teams like the Saints and Cardinals are always dangerous. Will the 49ers make it back to the playoffs? Possible. Will they go all the way to the NFC Championship Game again and beyond? Unlikely.

2. Garoppolo will be swimming in cash this season

Jimmy Garoppolo came out of Levi’s Stadium with a win and $350,000. This after he replaced an injured Lance in the first quarter.

According to Garoppolo’s new deal, the veteran quarterback receives $250,000 for each game in which he plays more than 25% of the offensive snaps. He also gets an additional $100,000 for each game in which he wins. Both happened this weekend when Lance was taken off the field with a right ankle injury and was shortly declared out.

This will be true in many of the upcoming games this season. The 49ers will very certainly not win every game remaining. Still, Garoppolo will almost certainly make a lot of money for at least 15 more games as the team’s primary quarterback. This deal actually makes him one of the highest-paid “backup” quarterbacks in the league.

1. Garoppolo will average 250+ yards per game

Jimmy Garoppolo has obviously had his ups and downs in San Francisco. However, he now has a major chance in what is now a contract year for the veteran signal-caller.

In 2021, he had a total of 3,810 yards over 15 games. He also had 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions. Yes, Garoppolo was also sacked his fair share — 29 times to be exact. His passing rating was a respectable 98.7 and QBR was at 59.2.

He will probably reprise those numbers this season. With 15 games to go, expect Garoppolo to average around 250 yards total per game, with around 1-2 passing TDs, 1 INT, and 2 sacks per outing to boot.

Those numbers won’t push him into Pro Bowl territory, but they’re good enough to make the 49ers competitive.

Again, this is a contract year for Jimmy G. Even with this injury, Lance expects to start for San Francisco next season and beyond. As such, if Garoppolo performs well, he should find himself starting for a new team in 2023.