Reimer: Lamenting the plight of Jimmy Garoppolo, who's destined for more clipboard holding

Alex Reimer
November 16, 2017 - 3:55 pm

Stan Szeto/USA Today Sports

Poor Jimmy G. When the Patriots shipped him to San Francisco last month, he reportedly couldn’t “get on the plane fast enough.” Since the 49ers are terrible, one could assume all of Jimmy Garoppolo’s apparent excitement stemmed from the prospect that he would finally see the field. 

Now, he’s sitting behind rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, with no timetable set for his 49ers debut. Tough break indeed.

Forty-four quarterbacks have started games in the NFL this season, and many of them are lousy. Garoppolo shined during his six quarters of glory last year, completing 68.3 percent of his passes and tossing four touchdowns. It was a small sample size, but Garoppolo showed he’s worthy of an opportunity. The problem, of course, is that he was playing with Tom Brady, who’s posted perhaps the best four seasons of his career since Bill Belichick decried his “age and contract situation” after selecting Garoppolo in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

The 49ers’ intentions with Garoppolo were murky from the moment they acquired him. Just days after the trade, ESPN’s Adam Schefter speculated San Francisco might not even sign Garoppolo to a long-term deal this offseason. That was strange, considering the 49ers traded a high second-round pick for Garoppolo’s services. 

“If the 49ers do not sign Garoppolo to a long-term deal, they could use a franchise tag on him and then dangle him to the highest bidder in a trade,” Schefter reported. “If they were to do that, other teams would be interested, sources said, and they could possibly get back more than the second-round pick they surrendered.”

Still, it seemed inevitable Garoppolo would start for the lowly 49ers this season. Schefter reported Sunday the 49ers were eyeing Week 12 against the Seahawks for Garoppolo’s debut, in the first game following their bye. But on Thursday, general manager John Lynch made it clear the team was sticking with Beathard for now, because he beat the pathetic Giants last week. 

"People have had all these ideas about why we got Jimmy. We got Jimmy because we think he has big-time ability at the quarterback position,” Lynch said, per NBC Sports Bay Area. “And we believe so much – to get where we need to get – you have to have a franchise quarterback. We think he's got that ability. Whether that happens, when that happens, we'll see. But we certainly like his future with the 49ers.”

Apparently, they just don’t like him enough to boot Beathard. There’s no timetable for Garoppolo’s debut. 

Garoppolo will likely become very rich next year, even if he doesn’t play a single down this season. At worst, the 49ers will franchise him for roughly $23 million. Or, he’ll roam free on the open market, which is where the Seahawks once awarded Matt Flynn $10 million guaranteed after two good spot starts over two years in Green Bay. 

But right now, Garoppolo’s frustration must be boiling over. It’s one thing to wait behind the best quarterback of all-time during the greatest dynastic run in NFL history. But backing up rookie C.J. Beathard on the one-win 49ers, all because he passed for 288 yards and two touchdowns against the moribund Giants? 

That’s seemingly worthy of at least one passive aggressive Instagram post.

Garoppolo, 26, is learning that timing often trumps everything else. His ex-Wolfpack compadre, Jacoby Brissett, has started all but one game for the Colts this season, because Indianapolis’ porous offensive line has destroyed Andrew Luck. It might soon victimize Brissett, too, given that he’s currently in concussion protocol. 

But for now, Brissett is playing, just like several others from Garoppolo's draft class. Derek Carr, Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Tom Savage are all starting quarterbacks, or at least have received extended looks. 

It’s unfathomable that Beathard will be able to hold Garoppolo off for the rest of the season. But Garoppolo might spend one month in San Francisco before the team even considers putting him out there. 

If Garoppolo knew more clipboard holding duty was awaiting him in San Fran, he might have been less excited to get on that cross country flight. 

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