Things continue to get worse for the San Francisco 49ers as the team will be without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for not only their Week 9 matchup against the Packers but for the foreseeable future. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Garoppolo is expected to miss at least the next six weeks which means he will likely be placed on injured reserve with the possibility that the quarterback will need surgery which would extend this return timeline.
“49ers’ QB Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be sidelined indefinitely with his high ankle sprain, source tells ESPN,” Schefter reported on Twitter. “49ers feel he needs time to rest an injury that has bothered him since Week 2. Nick Mullens took over for Garoppolo on Sunday. …Jimmy Garoppolo is expected to be sidelined a minimum of six weeks and possibly longer if surgery is needed, per source. George Kittle is out eight weeks with a broken bone in his foot, which means his season could be over.”
Schefter added on Monday Night Countdown that Garoppolo’s season “could well be over.” Based on the current projections, the soonest Garoppolo would be able to return to the field is Week 15 against the Cowboys.
The 49ers Will Have $80 Million of Their Salary Cap on Injured Reserve
The bad news keeps coming for the 49ers as the team also found out George Kittle’s injury is more severe than they originally expected. Kittle sustained a fractured foot and is projected to be out for eight weeks.
Barring a surprising playoff run, all signs point to both players being sidelined for the remainder of the 2020 season. Schefter added that once Kittle and Garoppolo are placed on injured reserve the team will have $80 million of their salary cap on the list. After Garoppolo headed to the locker room against the Seahawks, Nick Mullens took over at quarterback and is the favorite to be the starter in his absence.
“Every week is a new week and you have to play with the cards that you’re dealt,” Mullens noted, per 49ers.com. “I can’t speak much on the identity, but it’s all about making plays. You know, ‘who’s going to make the plays?’ and that’s what we have to get back to. Just making plays, executing at a high level and focusing on us.”
Garoppolo Faces an Uncertain Future in San Francisco
The bigger question is not just whether Garoppolo will return this season but his status as the 49ers quarterback moving forward. The majority of Garoppolo’s guaranteed money will be paid after this season giving San Francisco the opportunity to move on if they are not sold on him as their QB1 of the future. We did not see Garoppolo’s best play on the field this season given the ankle injury as the quarterback played through torn ligaments, per The Athletic’s David Lombardi.
“Jimmy Garoppolo may need surgery,” Lombardi said on Twitter. “He’s been playing on torn ligaments in his high ankle. We’ve seen uncharacteristic inaccuracy from him, and the simplest explanation is usually the correct one.”
Prior to the recent news, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer noted on The Ryen Russillo Podcast earlier this season that the 49ers could move away from Garoppolo after 2020.
“If they wind up, say, 5-11 or 6-10 with all the injuries this year, and if Jimmy [Garoppolo] shows that he can’t raise the team around him above the circumstances they’re in, then I think they’re right back where they were in March when the [Tom] Brady thing came up,” Breer explained. “Which is we’re happy with who we have, but we’re willing to look at the landscape out there. And if there is a better answer for us, say that’s Matt Ryan, then that’s something we’re really going to consider.”
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