Even though Jimmy Garoppolo is injured, the future isn’t as bleak for the 49ers as some may want you to think.
There’s no nuanced way set this up: Jimmy Garoppolo losing his first full season as starting quarterback to an ACL injury is devastating. San Francisco had high hopes for Jimmy G’s first season as the franchise star and there were whispers of the postseason being a possibility. That all came crashing down when Garoppolo was carted off the field on Sunday with what everyone seems to believe is a torn ACL and MCL. That will end his season before the end of September and ends mostly any hope of this being a step forward season for San Francisco.
It doesn’t, however, mean things are as bleak as they may seem at the moment.
There’s never any upside to losing a franchise player to an ACL injury. There is, however, a way to spin this so that 49ers fans don’t lose their minds over the next three months of the season. Most of the silver lining rest on the idea that the Niners are still a year away from “arriving”. Without Garoppolo their season is by no means over, but the chances of winding up with a top draft pick are significantly higher — and more practical — than before.
If the Niners end up with a Top 5 pick, it won’t be laced in the type of failure we otherwise might have attributed. It’s impossible to predict which college star will be the best option for San Francisco, but it’s clear what areas of the team should be targeted. A lot of things will change between now and April, but already Nick Bosa and others are slipping down mock drafts, which has to be intriguing to fans unsure of how to handle the idea of this season being lost.
Of course, this is all based on the idea that Garopoolo is out for the year and C.J. Beathard isn’t capable of leading the team to contention. Let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves, but we’re living in a world where Ryan Fitzpatrick is an MVP candidate and Nick Foles is the reigning Super Bowl MVP. Beathard wasn’t overly impressive last year but nothing about the Niners was. In his time starting, Beathard posted a QBR of almost 70, tossed almost 1,500 yards, and was able to settle into Shanahan’s system before getting hurt. He may not be the future at quarterback, but Beathard isn’t a pushover either.
The season isn’t over in San Francisco, but if this starts to go south without Garoppolo,