The San Francisco 49ers are just one year removed from a Super Bowl appearance and a lead in the fourth quarter before Patrick Mahomes went to another level and led the Kansas City Chiefs to a victory.
It seems like so long ago that this 49ers team was in the Super Bowl, but it wasn’t. They had some of the worst luck in the league with injuries on both sides of the football, including Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, George Kittle, and Jimmy Garoppolo, to name just a few.
The Niners finished 6-10 which was last in the NFC West and have a lot to figure out in this upcoming offseason.
Garoppolo’s name has been mentioned in trade talks, and Richard Sherman has most likely played his final snap with the 49ers. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh got a head coaching gig with the New York Jets, and Kyle Shanahan’s squad can’t wait for Kittle and Bosa to return in 2021.
The 49ers might end up losing offensive lineman Trent Williams to free agency as well, and their cap space isn’t good at all.
With that being said, there’s a few players the San Francisco 49ers might cut, but this one might surprise you.
It seems off to cut a quarterback who just one calendar year ago had a 4th-quarter lead in the Super Bowl, but let’s examine why it’s not completely crazy.
Jimmy Garoppolo has a $26.9 million cap hit if they carry him into 2021, and that’s a lot of money for any quarterback, especially one with the injury history of Garoppolo, who only played six games in 2020. He has only played more than six games once in his entire career, and that was in 2019 in their Super Bowl run.
He turns 31-years-old in November, and with the quarterback market as fluid as ever, Shanahan’s team might able to sling a trade for a starter or possibly grab one in the draft.
The 49ers have almost no cap space and will be even less if the NFL lowers the number as expected due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Jimmy Garoppolo was fantastic in 2019 as he threw for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns as the Niners beat the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game to earn a trip to the Super Bowl, so cutting a guy who just did all that might seem strange.
Shanahan’s system isn’t cut out for a guy like Garoppolo, and with the quarterback landscape of the league changing every day, it might be time for San Francisco to tag their next signal-caller as the team looks to bounce back and compete again in 2021.
— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) November 25, 2019
The weapons are there on offense and defense, so adding a capable and reliable quarterback would certainly help this team, and unfortunately, Nick Mullens and CJ Beathard aren’t the long-term answer in San Francisco.
Moving on from Garoppolo might be tough from a financial aspect, but they hold the 12th overall pick in the upcoming draft and could use that to grab a quarterback on a rookie contract.
There are other players the team could cut, although none of them have a big price tag like Garoppolo. A trade involving Jimmy G is the option they would want, but finding a team to take on a chunk of his salary is going to be hard to do especially after he missed most of the season due to injury.
The San Francisco 49ers signed Garoppolo to a five-year, $137-million deal a few years back in a move that was widely frowned upon at the time, and for a guy who has played just one full season in his career, it is time for them to pull the plug and end the Garoppolo experiment.
BYU quarterback Zach Wilson seems like a perfect fit in Shanahan’s system, and although they have been rumored to be in the Deshaun Watson sweepstakes, the amount of capital they would need to acquire him would be too big to take on.
Matthew Stafford was a fit for the Niners before he got traded to the Los Angeles Rams, and as time ticks by more and more quarterbacks will find new homes to play in when 2021 comes, so the Niners need to figure out what they are doing by the time free agency rolls around.
Garoppolo might have played his last snap in a San Francisco 49ers uniform and although he was one of the most well-liked players in San Francisco, the two sides might be moving on from each other after just one year past from a Super Bowl loss.