This past Halloween, the San Francisco 49ers got the ultimate treat; a potential franchise quarterback.
On October 30, San Francisco acquired quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the New England Patriots. The cost of what could be a franchise-altering quarterback? Simply a second-round pick.
A second-round pick for the former understudy of Tom Brady is quite the haul without giving up players or a plethora of draft picks. Garoppolo seemed to be poised as the successor to Brady, but Bill Belichick had other ideas. The Patriots have fielded other offers for Garoppolo in the past, but never pulled the trigger on any of them.
What’s ironic about Belichick trading him for a second round pick is the fact that Garoppolo was a second round pick by Belichick back in 2014 out of Eastern Illinois. With Brady saying he wants to play until he’s 45 and continuing to play at an elite level, New England decided to ship what could’ve been the next franchise quarterback elsewhere.
Now, Garoppolo gets his chance to start and potentially lead the 49ers to greater days. It is a small sample size, but so far, so good in San Francisco for Jimmy G.
In five starts and an appearance late in a game in week 12 against Seattle, Garoppolo is 5-0 with 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. He also has a rushing touchdown. As mentioned before, the sample size is small, but in the time Garoppolo has been the starter, he ranks among the league’s best in different statistical categories. He is fifth in completion percentage at 67.4%, third in yards per attempt at 8.7 and is the league-leader in total QBR at 82.1, which is nearly 10 whole points better than Ben Roethlisberger, who is second in that category.
Along with the 5-0 start in San Francisco, Garoppolo is now 7-0 in his career, as he started two games for the Patriots last season while Brady was serving his four-game suspension. The Patriots won both games that Garoppolo started.
In back-to-back weeks, the Garoppolo-led offense as hung 44 and 34 points respectively on the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams, both of which have stellar defenses.
When Garoppolo arrived in the Bay Area, the team was 1-10. Fast forward to present day and they finished the season 6-10. Does this small sample size warrant the 49ers to pay Garoppolo franchise quarterback money or should they wait it out a year by placing the franchise tag on Garoppolo and see what he can do over the course of a full 16-game schedule? Well, if general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan see the potential and think they have their quarterback of tomorrow, then they should absolutely sign him long-term and go from there.
What a crazy turn of events for the 49ers this season. Nobody expected them to do much of anything and up until the arrival of Garoppolo, they were proving that notion to be right. However, they struck a deal while the iron was hot with New England, and essentially robbed the Pats, and now they have a quarterback that can truly be a game-changer for this franchise.
Good to great franchise quarterbacks are hard to come by in the NFL, which is why teams trade a fortune come draft time to move up and select whichever quarterback is on their radar. For the 49ers, they can now shift the focus of their offseason strategy to surrounding Garoppolo with playmakers and guys who can help lead the team back to the Super Bowl.
The future is bright in the Bay Area and Jimmy G is the light source. San Francisco should be very excited for next season and seasons to come after that.