Jimmy Garoppolo may have played his last game as a San Francisco 49ers quarterback. The 30-year old was on the cusp of reaching the Super Bowl but JaMycal Hasty failed to catch his pass in the dying moments of the match. The fact that Garoppolo will likely leave the Niners in the offseason probably made that moment much more difficult to take.
As Garoppolo walked off the field he went to general manager John Lynch and stopped to hug him. The two talked to each other briefly and chances are that for all his love of the team and his teammates, Garoppolo was aware that he may have thrown his last pass for the Niners.
He’ll See What Happens Next
What made matters worse was that his team was so close to winning and booking its place in the Super Bowl. The Niners had a 10-point lead going into the fourth quarter and were 15 minutes away from joining the Cincinnati Bengals in an unlikely match-up for the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
However, it wasn’t meant to be. Garoppolo’s team lost 20-17 after capitulating in the fourth quarter and the quarterback didn’t hide his disappointment when he faced the cameras after the game.
Garoppolo said that emotions hit hard in the locker room and that things should settle a bit in the coming days. The quarterback tried to be philosophical about his team’s fortunes and said that win or lose, they had to be glad for what happened and to think about the positive things.
When quizzed about his future, Garoppolo said that he will wait and see what happens in the coming days, weeks or longer. However, he made it clear that he loved the Niners. He added that the fight they had in them throughout the entire season was impressive and that he had a special connection with his teammates.
Writing Is on the Wall for Garoppolo
Coach Kyle Shanahan is also aware that Garoppolo’s days with the Niners are numbered, but instead of saying goodbye, he used the post-match press conference to offer his appreciation.
Coach Shanahan said that he wasn’t going to sit there and make a farewell statement. Instead, he praised his quarterback for battling hard during the game and the entire season, adding that he loves coaching him.
However, ever since the Niners picked quarterback Trey Lance as No. 3 in the 2021 NFL Draft, it was evident that they were planning for a future without Garoppolo.
Moreover, Garoppolo only has a year remaining on his contract with a cap charge of close to $27 million. If the Niners trade or release Garoppolo in the offseason, though, they will only have to pay $1.4 million in dead money. So, it is easy to see what’s going to happen next and why Garoppolo leaving is the only logical option for the Niners.
But just because the San Francisco 49ers are preparing for a future without the quarterback it doesn’t mean that the transition will be easy. They are 35-16 when Garoppolo is a starter and 8-31 when he isn’t. Both the Niners and Garoppolo have something to lose if they part ways, but some decisions are easier to make than others.