49ers Coach’s Emotional Farewell as Contract Ends


49ers Coach’s Emotional Farewell as Contract Ends

Jimmy Garoppolo is finally hitting the NFL market. He could have done it a year ago. Instead, he accepted a pay cut under a revised and shortened contract that included a repaired throwing shoulder. He could have fled in 2018. Instead, the 49ers kept him at the cost of a then-record quarterback contract.

Upon signing the contract (five years, $137.5 million), Garoppolo said, “We have one goal, and that is to get to the Super Bowl and win it.” Five years came and went. What a show it was – three playoff berths, but still a Super Bowl win that ended an injury-plagued season. So Garoppolo officially becomes a free agent on Wednesday for the first time in his NFL career, which began in 2014 as a second-round draft pick by the New England Patriots. Free agency negotiations begin on Monday and contracts cannot be confirmed until Wednesday at 1 p.m. “A lot of people want to talk about what we didn’t achieve with him. I know Jimmy and I’ve won a lot of footballs,” general manager John Lynch said on NFL scouting on Feb. 28.


“I admire, we admire his toughness, I admire the teammate that he was.” Of course, the 49ers could still use him given the uncertain health of his younger successors, Brock Purdy and Trey Lance. But Garoppolo solidified that exit strategy before last season when he took a pay cut and made sure the 49ers couldn’t put the franchise tag on him to limit his potential freedom.

Where is the grass greener for Jimmy G? He’s certainly looking for a starting job, preferably one that comes in several years rather than a repeat in 2021, and is a placeholder for a high (or very low) draft pick. Logical destinations: New York Jets, Raiders, Houston Texans, Tampa Bay Bucs and Washington Commanders. “We have a process that we go through. Jimmy is obviously part of that process,” Texans offensive coordinator and former 49ers assistant Bobby Slowik said Wednesday in comments that could violate the NFL’s anti-abuse policy.

“He will be a free agent. Let’s go through it in training. We are working through it in HR. We have discussions.” A 4-foot fracture in December ended his 49ers career.

That kept him out of the next eight games, the last of which was a loss in the NFC Championship Game. Garoppolo followed from the sideline as Philadelphia first injured Purdy’s pitching elbow and then sent Josh Johnson into a concussion during a 31-7 run. Unlike a year ago, Garoppolo would not hold a season-ending press conference to offer him another chance to say goodbye, which he tried to do last January, telling reporters via video conference: “It’s been a very long ride, guys.

And. I love you guys. See you later .” The 49ers arguably saw the best of Garoppolo last season. Lance broke his ankle in September. The 18-home opener got Garoppolo his job back. The transition wasn’t smooth at first — see: Garoppolo pulled through the end zone to secure an 11-10 loss at Denver in Week 3 — but he transformed himself and the 49ers. Last year was his most efficient year since joining the 49ers in December 2017. He posted a passer rating of 103.0 with 16 touchdown passes and just four interceptions.

Remember that 10-game winning streak that led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game? Garoppolo started the first half. His left leg was broken as he valiantly tried to stay in field goal position and was pulled down by two Miami Dolphins defenders.

That injury was never considered season-ending, even if it later was. The 49ers put him on injured reserve in the hope of recovering in time for the conference finals or the Super Bowl. But he never returned to practice and didn’t start running back until a week and a half before the NFC Championship Game. Three days after the season-ending loss, coach Kyle Shanahan said rather coolly that he doesn’t foresee any scenario in which Garoppolo returns. “I know everybody wants to talk about some discourse and everything,” Lynch said on February 28. “But I think it’s probably in its own right.

” Garoppolo’s 49ers legacy: Injury, winning games (42/61) and melding into one man, at least in the locker room. He has kept a surprisingly low profile off the field for someone so recognizable and beloved in the Bay Area. Of course, the date he was set to star in the adult film in the 2018 offseason was questionable. “I’m under a microscope,” Garoppolo said when reporting for 2018 training camp. “It’s like (Shanahan) said, ‘It’s a good learning experience.’ You just have to take it easy.

” “Life is very different now,” Garoppolo added. “My life, outside of the court, I’ve never been interested in being very public about things, even on social media.


I’m not there much, but my life has been viewed differently. The 49ers started 0-8 when they dealt Garoppolo on Oct. 30, 2017, giving the New England Patriots only a second-round pick as Tom Brady’s backup. A month later, Garoppolo took over and went 5-0 as his December starter. Then came the injuries. Torn ACL during a red-zone rush in Kansas City, three games into the 2018 season. High ankle sprain in 2020. Leg bruises, thumb fracture and shoulder capsule tear in 2021.

His only full season: 2019, when his ACL comeback included all 20 starts, including one in the Super Bowl, where the 49ers blew a 10-point lead and Garoppolo overthrew Emmanuel Sanders deep as the Chiefs won the Lombardi Trophy. Instead of bringing home Tom Brady from San Mateo, the 49ers remained committed to Garoppolo in 2020, but abandoned that notion in the 2021 draft when they traded up third overall and selected Lance.

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