Trey Area On Hold

With the Niners’ NFC championship loss, will Jimmy Garoppolo be traded, and if so, where will he be traded to?


#10 Jimmy Garoppolo and #5 Trey Lance in practice.

Ansh Singhal, Staff Writer

Before the 2021 NFL season, the San Francisco 49ers were expected to repeat their 2019 success by making a deep playoff run. However, nine weeks into the season, the Niners were 3-5 and last in the NFC West. This disappointing start put Kyle Shanahan and (in this writer’s opinion) the over-hated Jimmy Garoppolo on the hot seat. Changes needed to be made … and that is exactly what happened.

With George Kittle and many other key players coming back, the Niners went on to clinch the 6th seed of the playoffs with a 10-7 record. After their 3-5 start, the Niners won 7 out of the next 9 games, becoming one of the dark horse picks to win it all. Most fans and pundits alike expected them to lose in the first round to the Cowboys, however that ended in a 23-17 victory. To be fair to San Francisco, that was more a result of Dak Prescott’s foolhardy decision-making rather than good ol’ refball.  In the divisional round, the Niners were up against the #1 seed Green Bay Packers, another Super Bowl favorite. This classic snow-game ended in a surprising 13-10 upset, largely due to amazing special teams play. The 49ers electrifying playoff run came to an end in the NFC championship game. A 20-17 loss to the Rams fittingly ended with a Jimmy G interception, causing outrage among Niners fans. That play seemed an appropriate end to a highly variable stint in the Bay for Garoppolo, only further stirring the cauldron of offseason drama over his future in the Red and Gold. 

Now that the season is over, the 49ers quarterback position is in flux. The rookie Trey Lance is expected to take over with Jimmy G being traded away. This conclusion seems inevitable, given his outsized 24 million dollar cap hit, and the team needing to shell out money for star defensive end Nick Bosa and breakout self-described “wide-back” Deebo Samuel. Even with Jimmy G leading the Niners to two NFC championships in three seasons, he is still one of the more hated players among sections of the fanbase. The 49ers could end up killing two birds with one stone, alleviating their salary situation and gaining the trust of large swaths of their supporters.

Now, the question arises of where Jimmy GQ should be traded to. There will be multiple teams on the market looking for the services of a playoff-tested, albeit limited, quarterback. Only heating up the market is the lack of star quality in the incoming quarterback draft class, with no college prospect possessing a combination of the physical ability, lack of medical history, experience, and competence necessary to drag a team into legitimate contender status. Teams such as Washington, Pittsburgh, and the entirety of the NFC South are all realistic potential destinations. Given that the 49ers play many of these teams, we are likely to see a matchup between Trey Lance vs. Jimmy G next season. This, of course, is very exciting for Niners fans, some of whom are old enough to reminisce over the 1994 Week 2 matchup between Steve Young’s 49ers and Joe Montana’s Chiefs. The outcome of that game may be in favor of the grizzled veteran as it was 28 years ago, but only time will tell whether the right decision is made in the long term.