Jimmy Garoppolo seems almost as likely to suffer a season-ending injury as play in a Super Bowl. The extensive injury history means that, walking into 2021, many expect Jimmy G to limp out at some point.
Just for argument’s sake, what if he misses the injury memo and somehow sticks around a while longer this year?
Garoppolo remained healthy a whole season with the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. In 2018, he missed nearly the entire season with an injury. In 2019, he was healthy once again and the 49ers made a Super Bowl.
But life is all about balance, and in 2020, Garoppolo missed most of the season yet again.
This sets him up for an interesting 2021. Garoppolo’s unfortunate injury history, as demonstrated, has been consistent so far. Going by that shred of evidence, history says he will be healthy throughout 2021. What does that mean for the San Francisco 49ers?
Here are some ways a healthy Garoppolo could change the 49ers’ situation in 2021.
Three ways a healthy Jimmy Garoppolo affects the 49ers
#1 – Trey Lance is off the hook for 2021
Get in line, Trey Lance. If Jimmy Garoppolo stays healthy, the San Francisco 49ers will be in the division race all season long. All things considered, the idea of starting a rookie quarterback in the middle of chasing a division title makes little sense.
This could help or harm Lance in 2022, as practically guaranteeing time off could open the door to ease Lance in, and the extra time could be exactly what he needs. Either way, the future will wait until at least 2022 if Garoppolo remains healthy.
#2 – Super Bowl bound?
The only full season Jimmy Garoppolo played saw him reach a Super Bowl. Could a second full season lead to a similar outcome? Of course, at face value, the idea of reaching a Super Bowl in each of the only two full seasons a quarterback has played seems ludicrous.
However, the NFC is pretty light on quarterbacks at the moment after the retirement of Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers’ potential holdout. A Brady-Garoppolo bout in the NFC Championship game is not out of the realm of possibility.
#3 – A tough offseason decision looms
If Jimmy Garoppolo stays healthy and makes it deep into the playoffs, the San Francisco 49ers will have an extremely difficult decision to make.
Do they force a transition for the new kid or do they put the most expensive draft pick of the 2021 NFL Draft on the backburner? The longer they wait to start him, the more they could hurt his development and themselves later down the line.
They could also wonder whether Garoppolo is a good enough solution at quarterback as is. Of course, there are injury concerns. But if he can get the team into deep playoff runs every other season, does it matter? Either way, if Garoppolo stays healthy in 2020, the 49ers could be in for a juicy couple of seasons. Or alternate seasons. Godspeed, Jimmy G.