The San Francisco 49ers' $137.5 million investment in Jimmy Garoppolo isn't exactly paying off.
Garoppolo guided the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance last season, but that's been by far the high point of his San Francisco tenure since the New England Patriots traded him in 2017. The 29-year-old quarterback missed all but three games in 2018 with a torn ACL and now is out indefinitely with a high ankle sprain.
But is Jimmy G. a good fit for the 49ers even when he's healthy? San Francisco quarterback-turned-ESPN analyst Steve Young isn't so sure.
“This looks like a disastrous year," Young said on ESPN's "Monday Night Countdown," via NBC Sports Bay Area. "It creates a focus on the one question that you had about the 49ers coming into this year — can we get to a place where Kyle Shanahan, this innovative offensive coordinator, one of the best head coaches in the league, can find a quarterback that he can trust and just be expansive with, rather than protect?
“I think that’s been the issue with Jimmy, and I think that -- $25 million and a shrinking salary cap, with this injury -- I just don’t know how Jimmy ends up being the quarterback for the 49ers next year."
Garoppolo is signed through 2022 and actually would cost the Niners $26.9 million against the cap next season. But he's thrown zero touchdown passes and three interceptions in his last two games and isn't earning his paycheck for reigning NFC champions, who are in the NFC West basement at 4-4.
Young believes the Shanahan-Garoppolo dynamic is partially to blame for San Francisco's struggles.
“It’s about the relationship between Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy," Young added. "That’s what matters. They’ve created a system that Jimmy can be successful in. It’s not the system that Kyle wants to run.
“Kyle is going to be a coach there for 10 years. He will be one of the long-term coaches when he’s finally done. Does he want Jimmy, to concoct an offense for him, or does he want somebody who can actually be expansive and do all the things that are in (his) brain rattling around? That’s what Kyle wants to do."
If general manager John Lynch feels the same way as Young, then perhaps the 49ers will look to trade Garoppolo this offseason. If that's the case, might Bill Belichick have an interest in bringing his former protege back to New England?
It's too early to tell, but don't be surprised if the Jimmy G. trade rumors heat up this winter.