Love him or hate him, every 49ers fan should take a moment to thank Jimmy Garoppolo for his time in San Francisco.
From the moment Garoppolo steppon on the field in San Francisco he made their team better. Winning the last five games of 2017 energized a previously dormant fan base.
There is no denying Garoppolo had his flaws, however, the results were often positive with him on the field. From 2014 to 2021 the 49ers posted a regular season record of 49-80. In Garoppolo’s 57 regular season starts in San Francisco the 49ers went 38-17.
With Garoppolo under center, San Francisco made deep playoff runs reaching the Super Bowl in 2019. In 2021 the 49ers narrowly lost the NFC Championship game. Those happened to be the two seasons in which Garoppolo was able to stay healthy.
The inability to stay healthy was Garoppolo’s biggest flaw. A knee injury late during a week three loss in Kansas City sidelined him for the 2018 season. In 2020 a high ankle sprain suffered in a week two victory over the New York Jets hobbled Garoppolo and limited him to only six starts.
Even in the two lost seasons, Garoppolo helped make the 49ers better.
Without Garoppolo in 2018 the 49ers floundered their way to a 4-12 record, second worst in the NFL. As a result, San Francisco had the second pick in the 2019 draft, this became Nick Bosa. San Francisco followed that up by drafting Deebo Samuel with its pick near the top of round two.
Bosa recorded nine sacks in 2019 on his way to being named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2019. He would better that up by recording 15.5 quarterback sacks in 2021 and being named to the Pro Bowl for the second time in his career. On the other side of the ball, Samuel had a breakout season in 2021 during which he posted 1,770 yards from scrimmage, second only to Jerry Rice all-time in franchise history. The performance earned Samuel All-Pro honors and a trip to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career.
Garoppolo’s inability to stay healthy in 2020 led to another poor year on the field as the 49ers finished 6-10.
As frustrating as those losses were, they provided San Francisco with the twelfth selection in the 2021 draft. The 49ers sent that pick along with their 2022 and 2023 first-round picks along with a third-round pick in 2022 to Miami to acquire the third pick in the 2021 draft.
San Francisco used the third pick to select Trey Lance.
Other than flashes and a terrific second half against Houston in his second NFL start Lance has yet to live up to his draft slot.
San Francisco handed the starting job to Lance for 2022. However, he was lost for the season due to an ankle injury after just five quarters. He will get another chance to prove himself this offseason during OTA’s and training camp.
With Lance down Garoppolo stepped in and steadied the team, keeping them in the playoff picture until he was injured once again.
Brock Purdy stepped in and led the 49ers to the NFC championship game.
Earlier this week Garoppolo agreed to terms with the Las Vegas Raiders, ending his time in red and gold.
In going from New England to San Francisco and on to the Raiders, Garoppolo has followed the same path as former Stanford quarterback Jim Plunkett.
After struggling in his first two stops Plunkett was instrumental in the Raiders winning two Super Bowls.
Jimmy Garoppolo helped make the 49ers relevant once again. His legacy will live on in Nick Bosa, Deebo Samuel, and Trey Lance.
Thank you, Jimmy.