Jimmy G sees the writing on the wall.
Once he overthrew a potential game-winning touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders in the San Francisco 49ers' Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Jimmy Garoppolo's days with the 49ers were numbered.
The immaculate-jawed passer has struggled to stay healthy since the Niners traded a second-rounder to the Patriots for his services, missing 25 games due to injury with San Francisco.
That — along with Jimmy G's penchant for turning the ball over — forced the Niners to trade up to the third overall pick to select former North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance.
Through it all, Garoppolo has taken the professional route by embracing the situation while extending an olive branch to Lance. However, it’s hard to ignore the inevitable fate that lies ahead of the 29-year-old.
Niners general manager John Lynch further underlined the situation ahead as he voiced that Lance is “pushing” behind Garoppolo before the 2021 season.
“That’s up to Kyle [Shanahan]. That’s up to our head coach,” Lynch said on KNBR's "Murph & Mac" show. “He makes the decisions on who’s playing and whatnot. But I think it’s Jimmy’s right now and Trey’s pushing. I think that’s where it’s at.”
Garoppolo is expected to enter the 2021 season as the starter, but it’s evident that it's just a matter of time until Lance takes the reigns. Lance is the long-term answer, especially after the team chose to sacrifice so much draft capital to snag him.
Lance teased his sky-high potential in his first game under center, hitting Trent Sherfield on an 80-yard touchdown bomb.
With Garoppolo entering the fourth season of his five-year, $137.5 million deal, which will be his final contract with the 49ers. It doesn’t help his situation that he holds a minuscule $1.4 million dead cap hit for the 2022 season. That essentially means this is his last year in San Francisco.
Lance's tantalizing potential along with Garoppolo's struggles to stay healthy and read the field mean Jimmy G could lose his starting job either before Week 1 or early in the season. Shanahan could elect to start Lance in what could be cupcake matchups to kick off the campaign against the Lions and Eagles.
The 49ers’ vantage point of Garoppolo has drastically shifted over the last few years. He’s become more of a game-manager than the quarterback the team hoped can lead the offense routinely.
Unfortunately for Jimmy G, Lance's ability to open up the offense and add a running element could relegate the incumbent to the bench which wouldn't allow him to show off his growth and prove to other teams that he can stay healthy.
The only question that remains for Jimmy G and the 49ers is, when will Lance take over?
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