NFL

Jimmy Garoppolo: Shoulder surgery throws trade value into doubt

By Sports Desk March 01, 2022

It isn't clear what the San Francisco 49ers' asking price is for Jimmy Garoppolo, but interested buyers have been provided with a very good reason to go under it this offseason.

The Niners appear destined to trade Garoppolo this offseason to pave the way for Trey Lance, for whom they traded three first-round picks to acquire with the third overall selection in last year's draft, to take over as their starting quarterback.

That is despite a 2021 season that saw the 49ers reach the NFC Championship Game with Garoppolo at quarterback.

San Francisco surrendered a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead to lose 20-17 to eventual Super Bowl champions the Los Angeles Rams, the tale an all too familiar one for the Niners with Garoppolo intercepted on the final drive having proven unable to deliver victory in similar circumstances in their Super Bowl LIV loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at the end of the 2019 season.

Garoppolo's inability to elevate the 49er passing game on the biggest of stages is one reason why the Niners are set to move on from him and any teams in the market for a quarterback were given a reminder of another reason on Tuesday.

According to multiple reports, Garoppolo is set to have surgery on a shoulder he injured in the Niners' Wild Card Round win over the Dallas Cowboys and will be out of action for 16 weeks, meaning he will not be able to throw until after the start of organised team activities.

Durability, or lack thereof, has been a continued problem for Garoppolo, who has missed 25 regular-season games in his 49ers career due to injury.

And the prospect of him starting his career with a new team behind the 8-ball due to his surgery is sure to dent his value to those considering making a move for the former second-round pick.

Yet, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, there is "significant interest" in Garoppolo from multiple teams even with the prospect of him missing the start of preparations for the new season.

The Niners, minus a day-one pick in the draft, are hoping to recoup capital for Garoppolo as they look to retool the roster around Lance.

However, even if the level of interest in high, the compensation on offer to the 49ers may not be for a quarterback with injury issues and consistent problems with turnovers.

Garoppolo finished the 2021 season second in the NFL with 8.64 yards per attempt, but he also led all quarterbacks in yards after the catch per pass attempt with (6.6), illustrating his reliance on short passes and the ability of the likes of Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk to do damage with ball in hand.

A limited downfield thrower, Garoppolo completed just nine passes of 21 air yards or more in 2021. Only six quarterbacks (min. 200 pass attempts) averaged fewer air yards per attempt than Garoppolo's 7.38, while his pickable pass rate of 4.82 per cent was the sixth-highest in the league, according to Stats Perform data.

In other words, Garoppolo was not regularly attempting ambitious throws but put the ball in harm's way more than the vast majority of his counterparts.

Having seen San Francisco win and go deep into the postseason in each of the two full seasons in which Garoppolo was healthy, at least one team will be ready to bet they can build an offense around him to allow them to do the same. But, between his injury history, his imminent lengthy rehabilitation period and his obvious shortcomings, they might not be willing to gamble as much as the Niners are hoping for.

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