Newly acquired 49ers quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo (aka Jimmy GQ), was acquired to be the future face of the franchise for its sputtering team. Handsomely so.
For years, Garoppolo was lauded as the heir apparent to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense. So much so that Coach Bill Belichick and the Patriots brass deemed the backup quarterback untouchable throughout his time in New England, only occasionally showcasing their shiny toy for other teams to salivate over.
Over the course of three and a half years, Garoppolo played in 17 total games, two of which he started in 2016 for a suspended Tom Brady. With an overall completion percentage of 67 percent, Garoppolo connected with his New England receivers on 63-of-94 passes and delivered a 5:0 touchdown to interception ratio. Now, 690-yards later, Garoppolo is looking for his first career start as the leader of the 49ers. The question is, will the 49ers start him?
The situation is a dicey one. On the one hand, the 49ers have the worst record and (arguably) offensive line in the NFL. With rookie quarterback, CJ Beathard, playing relatively well and gaining valuable experience in the process, there seems no reason to trot out a franchise quarterback that’s used to limited reps. On the other hand, Garoppolo is a free agent after the 2017 season, and it would be nice for the 49ers to see what they have in him before potentially exercising the franchise tag (should the two sides not come to terms on a contract beforehand).
Many football analysts say it’s not worth the risk of putting Garoppolo out there for fear of injury. Others proclaim that there’s nothing to gain from such an experiment.
We’re of the thought that injuries happen regardless of game script and that keeping Garoppolo in bubble wrap does neither the team, nor quarterback any good. For one, if Garoppolo can navigate an offense devoid of capable weaponry, then it’s an arrow in the right direction of what could be with the addition of above average players. Not to mention, showcasing Garoppolo’s skill set could also attract free agents. You know, wide receivers, tight ends and offensive linemen! At this time, it appears that only wide receiver Marquise Goodwin is worthy of targets.
From Garoppolo’s vantage point, should he play well, then it only increases his bargaining power. Perhaps something that the 49ers are afraid of. However, Garoppolo’s strength of play (or lack there of) could also give the 49ers negotiation power to engage talks with other free agent quarterbacks, like Kirk Cousins. It’s unlikely, but anything’s possible.
All in all, the idea of starting Garoppolo in Week 12 against the Seahawks isn’t the craziest idea in the world. If anything, both quarterback and team become better acquainted with one another and improve their respective bargaining positions. Garoppolo would get a look at the Seattle defense close up, a team that he’d be slated to play a couple times every year. On the flip side, Seattle would also get a look at Garoppolo, which perhaps doesn’t bode well for the 49ers. However, it’s not like there’s not a massive 690-yards worth of game tape out on the guy.
Whether it be Week 12 against the Seahawks, or Week 13 against Chicago, we say, it’s time to start Jimmy GQ. There’s a lot that can be learned over the next six weeks of the season and everyone benefits. That being said, go ahead Kyle Shanahan, crush the bubble wrap! Start him.
Besides, we’re running short on fantasy quarterbacks.