8:30pm: With Garoppolo likely headed to injured reserve, the 49ers plan to sign veteran journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson off of the Broncos’ practice squad, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN. This will be Johnson’s fourth stint in San Francisco after spending the 2012 offseason with the 49ers, constantly being signed and released by the team throughout the 2014 season, and spending the 2020 season on San Francisco’s practice squad.
Johnson has been a member of more NFL teams than he has played years in the league, playing with 14 teams over 13 years. He signed with the Broncos at the beginning of this past offseason and was temporarily on the team’s active roster after an injury to starter Russell Wilson.
He last appeared in a game last season for the Ravens when he started in place of an injured Lamar Jackson and an absent Tyler Huntley, who had tested positive for COVID-19. The Ravens lost that game despite Johnson completing 28 of 40 pass attempts for 304 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite his three previous tenures with the organization, Johnson has never appeared in a game for the 49ers. That trend may continue as the rookie seventh-round pick, Purdy, showed he may have what it takes to pilot the 49ers offense. Johnson is likely being brought in for emergency backup duties only, considering Purdy has spent the entire season with 49ers.
6:53pm: Following this afternoon’s win over the Dolphins that saw quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo leave in the first quarter with a reported ankle injury, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has told reporters that Garoppolo will be out for the remainder of the season, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. With season opener starter Trey Lance already on season-ending injured reserve with his own ankle injury, the 49ers will be down to third-stringer Brock Purdy to lead the team for the remainder of the season.
Shanahan explained to reporters that Garoppolo actually suffered a broken foot, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, telling the media, “He’ll be out. He’ll need surgery. (He) broke a few things in there.”
Heaps of drama surrounded Garoppolo’s situation coming into the season as the veteran quarterback sought a departure from his team of the last six years. In the end, San Francisco decided to hold on to Garoppolo, hoping his trade value would increase as the season went on. The move would prove to immediately benefit the 49ers when their chosen starter to open the season, Lance, suffered a broken right ankle and underwent season-ending surgery.
Since taking over, Garoppolo has a 7-3 record as the 49ers’ starter, helping to lead the team to an 8-4 record overall, good for first place in the NFC West and a current No. 4 seed in the conference. Garoppolo has done what he always seems to do as a starter, which is simply win football games.
When Garoppolo left today’s game after only one drive, the 49ers had to reach deep into their pockets. This year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Purdy entered Week 13 as the only other quarterback on San Francisco’s active roster. Purdy not only performed admirably but was a huge contributor in helping the 49ers pull out a win against a Dolphins team that would currently sit atop the AFC if it had won today.
San Francisco faces an intriguing stretch over the last five weeks of the season. Next week will pit the seventh-round rookie against the all-time veteran as the team hosts Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. Then a short week will send them to Seattle for a Thursday night matchup against the Seahawks that could very well decide the division. They’ll come back home to face a red-hot Commanders team before closing the season with a road trip to Vegas and another division matchup versus the Cardinals.
As for Garoppolo, a quick recovery is paramount for the 31-year-old. The injury could not have come at a worse time for Garoppolo as reports came out just this morning that the veteran was open to a new contract that would keep him in San Francisco. A perceived value that was riding high at an estimated $35MM per year may take a hit now due to the injury.
Upcoming updates should reveal the severity of the damage and the seriousness of the surgery, giving us an idea of what an expected timeline for recovery will look like. With Lance likely on track to be ready for the 2023 season, Garoppolo may find himself, once again, questioning his place in San Francisco.