Jimmy Garoppolo

Brock Purdy Suffers Torn UCL

Although Josh Johnson‘s exit forced Brock Purdy back into the NFC championship game, San Francisco’s starter was playing through a significant elbow injury. More clarity is emerging on Purdy’s malady, though a definitive recovery timetable remains elusive.

Purdy suffered a torn UCL, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com reports (on Twitter). The rookie sensation suffered a complete tear, per Pelissero, but as of now, the hope is he can avoid Tommy John surgery. Should Purdy manage to avoid the common baseball procedure — one that can knock pitchers out of action for well beyond a year — he could be back in time for 49ers training camp, Pelissero adds (via Twitter). Indeed, CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones notes the current plan is for Purdy to be sidelined for around six months (Twitter link).

A repair procedure, known as an internal brace operation, would allow for this shortened absence. A reconstructive operation — the Tommy John route — would shelve Purdy for the foreseeable future and throw his career off axis. Tommy John surgery would not sideline Purdy for as long as it would MLB arms, Jeff Howe of The Athletic writes (subscription required), noting a seven- to nine-month hiatus would be expected if this route is taken. But this procedure is highly uncommon for quarterbacks.

The Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate is seeking additional opinions, Mark Maske of the Washington Post tweets. If Purdy avoids reconstructive surgery, NFL.com’s Mike Garafolo tweets he should be ready to throw in around three months.

The 49ers managed to advance to the NFC title game despite losing their top two quarterbacks, but they will go into the offseason without any of them healthy. Trey Lance suffered a fractured fibula and ligament damage that has required two ankle surgeries; the second occurred not too long ago. Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a broken foot in December, and although the veteran starter was viewed as a candidate to return before the 49ers’ season ended, he was unavailable for Sunday’s game. That created a disaster scenario for San Francisco, which was forced to turn to Johnson — a Denver practice squad arm for most of this season — before needing a severely limited Purdy again after Johnson left the game.

This will mark the second straight offseason in which the 49ers will see an injury cloud their quarterback outlook. Garoppolo’s March 2022 shoulder surgery hijacked his trade market and led him back to the Bay Area as Lance insurance, which became needed in Week 2. Lance’s performance and injury status makes his 49ers standing rather murky, but Purdy missing the offseason program will open the door to the former No. 3 overall pick having a better chance to reclaim his starting job. Going into the NFC title game, Purdy was the early favorite to land the 2023 gig after his stunning run of performances that guided the 49ers to this point. Now, the 49ers could go into their offseason program without either of their prospective 2023 options healthy.

Garoppolo is set for free agency in March. While a moot point now, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported (via Twitter) Garoppolo would have had a chance to practice ahead of Super Bowl LVII. That bodes well for the passer’s free agency market, though his various injuries will impact his value this year.

Purdy, who is under contract through 2025, went down on the 49ers’ first drive; the injury effectively assured the Eagles of their fourth Super Bowl berth and the 49ers being turned back in the championship round for a second straight year. San Francisco has been loosely linked to Tom Brady, and hours before Garoppolo went down with his latest significant injury, the team was connected to wanting to discuss another contract. It will be interesting to see if the 49ers explore adding a veteran starter. The team will likely need to make a move of some sort at quarterback, given Purdy and Lance’s uncertain timetables set to bleed into the offseason program.

Latest On Jets’ QB Pursuit

Since the Jets’ 2022 season crashed to a halt amidst their quarterback struggles, they are widely expected to be active in pursuing a veteran addition at the position. The team has been very public about doing so, and clarity could be emerging with respect to the names they are targeting.

CBS Sports’ Jonathan Jones reports that New York is “evaluating” Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo and Derek Carr. While he adds that the process is in its early stages, meaning more names will no doubt be added to that list, it comes as little surprise that those three are included in it. Rodgers was mentioned as a trade candidate for the Jets even before Nathaniel Hackett became the team’s new offensive coordinator, but increasingly so due to their connection with one another dating back to the latter’s time with the Packers.

Garoppolo was widely thought to be on his way out of San Francisco last offseason with the team turning its offense over to Trey Lance, but he ultimately remained on a re-worked contract. Now a pending free agent, he would not require trade compensation (as would be the case with Rodgers). His play after taking over for Lance appeared to help his value on the open market, but the 31-year-old then suffered what was initially believed to be a season-ending ankle injury. He may have been able to return in time for the Super Bowl, though the result of today’s NFC title game now makes that a moot point.

As for Carr, his days in Vegas are thought to be numbered, as the three-time Pro Bowler personally alluded to recently. He has begun doing “homework” on potential landing spots in a trade (since he has a no-trade clause), though the possibility remains that he get released and chooses his next team as a free agent.

That trio of passers is also one which Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network lists as targets for the Jets. New York showed signs of being a playoff contender in 2022 with a strong defense in particular, and a number of encouraging performances with a healthy Mike White at the helm of their offense. Interestingly, Pauline notes that “several” Jets players implored general manager Joe Douglas during their exit interviews to move on from Zach Wilson as their starting QB, in addition to firing offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.

The latter move has already taken place, with Hackett now set to play a role in identifying the team’s top options to provide stability at the position relative to Wilson’s inconsistencies (although Pauline also notes that owner Woody Johnson still sees the 2021 No. 2 pick as salvageable). As the QB market takes shape, the Jets are sure to be key players in the case of several veteran passers.

49ers Rumors: Garoppolo, Bosa

The story in the Bay Area for the last two months has been the play of 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy. But for a team that has already seen their top two quarterback options for the season go down with injury, the prospect of having to turn to veteran, journeyman quarterback Josh Johnson is not an extremely attractive one as they prepare for the conference championship and Super Bowl. It was good news, then, when head coach Kyle Shanahan reported earlier this week that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had an “outside chance” of being available for this weekend’s game with a Super Bowl trip being even more likely, according to ESPN’s Nick Wagoner.

A more recent update from Ian Rapoport of NFL Network has clarified that Garoppolo’s most recent X-rays have resulted in in him being downgraded to doubtful for the NFC Championship game. That doesn’t rule him out for the big game in two weeks’ time, though. If the 49ers make it past the Eagles for a trip to Arizona, they may see a significant upgrade to their quarterbacks room.

Purdy would most likely continue in his starting role, as the team has not lost with him at quarterback, but Garoppolo would be a massive upgrade at backup quarterback over Johnson. Johnson was given the roster spot for a reason, but Garoppolo’s years of familiarity and experience with the offense makes him much more suited for success in an emergency situation during the season’s biggest game.

Regardless, as big of a game as it is, San Francisco likely respects Garoppolo too much to rush him back into play if he’s not ready. If there is any danger of further injury, expect the two-deep to show Purdy and Johnson as the top options.

Here’s another rumor for San Francisco as they prepare to join rest of the NFL in the offseason, whether that be in three days or seventeen:

  • Continuing a story from the offseason, the 49ers still have every intention of extending star defensive end Nick Bosa. While the NFL’s reigning sack leader does have a fifth-year option on his rookie contract, San Francisco has no intention of letting him get anywhere near that close to free agency. According to a report from Rapoport, Bosa’s expectation will be nothing short of becoming the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL. Currently, by annual average value, that honor belongs to Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald, who makes $31.67MM per year, with Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt coming in a far off second at $28MM per year. Bosa’s older brother, Chargers outside linebacker Joey Bosa, currently sits in third at $27MM per year. The younger Bosa will demand a pretty penny, but San Francisco has made a point to invest in its young assets recently, rewarding such players as wide receiver Deebo Samuel, tackle Trent Williams, tight end George Kittle, and running back Christian McCaffrey handsomely. Expect that trend to continue as they attempt to lock down the potential 2022 Defensive Player of the Year.

Jimmy Garoppolo In-Season Return Remains In Play; 49ers Would Slot Him As QB2

When the prospect of Jimmy Garoppolo‘s foot injury not being a season-ending setback surfaced, it looked like the 49ers’ Super Bowl hopes had new life. Several weeks since San Francisco’s former starter went down, he is still aiming to return. Should that happen, it will bolster the 49ers’ depth chart. But the team would change Garoppolo’s role if he can come back.

Garoppolo’s continued push to return for potentially the NFC championship game or Super Bowl LVII — should the team advance to either of those rounds — would not mean he regains his starting job. The 49ers are planning to stick with Brock Purdy as their starter, Jay Glazer of Fox Sports notes (video link).

Garoppolo, 31, is finishing up one of the more complicated years in the history of the quarterback position. A March 2022 shoulder surgery took him from surefire trade candidate to a freefalling stock that did not end up generating much interest by the time training camp rolled around. The 49ers, who had openly discussed plans to trade Garoppolo to greenlight the Trey Lance era, approached their longtime starter about a restructure to stay on as Lance insurance. That agreement became vital, as Lance went down with a season-ending injury in Week 2. After triggering some of his playing time-based incentives, Garoppolo sustained another major injury and has seen a seventh-round rookie bypass him.

Prior to the Dec. 4 injury, the 49ers were interested in another Garoppolo contract. But his latest injury changed San Francisco’s QB trajectory. Purdy has led the team to seven straight wins, counting his early-game relief appearance against the Dolphins, and has thrown 16 touchdown passes compared to four interceptions since taking over. Garoppolo also carries a 16-4 TD-INT ratio, though it came in 11 games.

The 49ers have won 11 straight — their longest win streak since they won 18 in a row between the 1989-90 seasons. Not only has Purdy commandeered the 49ers’ starting job for this season, he may well be set to pass Lance once the former No. 3 overall pick re-enters the equation.

This year’s Mr. Irrelevant should enter San Francisco’s 2023 training camp as the team’s starter, with The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami writing this is the assumed reality the 49ers have backed into thanks to the Iowa State product’s stunning late-season play (subscription required). Entering the NFL as a historically unusual prospect, Lance has only played more than two games in a season in one year (a dominant 2019 at North Dakota State) since graduating high school in 2018. A third overall selection being a backup going into Year 3 is not exactly an ideal plan, but Purdy has looked much readier to take over than Lance did during his stints under center in 2021 and ’22. Lance has since undergone a second surgery on his broken ankle.

For this season, Garoppolo returning would provide insurance — shaky as it may be, given his injury history — against a Purdy injury or his early surge fizzling. Even though Kyle Shanahan said initially Garoppolo coming back was a long-odds scenario, the prospect is still in play weeks later. The 49ers never put Garoppolo on IR. The team has Josh Johnson, the NFL’s journeyman of the moment who rejoined the team after spending most of the season on the Broncos’ practice squad, as the only healthy passer in place behind Purdy.

Garoppolo would obviously present a massive QB2 upgrade for the 49ers this season. Come March, however, it should be expected the nine-year veteran will hit the market and sign to start elsewhere.

Raiders Looking Into Tom Brady Addition

Tom Brady still has at least one more game to play for the Buccaneers, but that hasn’t stopped pundits (and, potentially, other NFL teams) from considering where he could play next season. During an appearance on the Dan Patrick Show (Twitter link), Albert Breer of TheMMQB said the Raiders are “unequivocally” looking into the possibility of adding the future Hall of Famer.

The Brady/Raiders comment was preceded by a question about Jimmy Garoppolo, with Breer noting that the Raiders are also doing their due diligince on the 49ers QB. In fact, Breer believes Derek Carr was thrown into a de facto competition with the two impending free agents, with Josh McDaniels, Dave Ziegler, and co. ultimately deciding they could squeeze more out of the quarterback position from someone else.

As Breer explains, when the current regime initially signed Carr to an extension, they thought they were locking in their equivalent of Alex Smith in Kansas City. In other words, the Raiders thought their veteran QB would be able to guide them to postseason performances while the front office identified their play-caller of the future. At 31, Jimmy G could allow the Raiders to continue with that plan, while Brady would obviously force the organization to go in a completely different direction as they load up for temporary contention.

With McDaniels and Ziegler having both worked alongside Brady and Garoppolo in New England, the connections are obvious, and it really wouldn’t be surprising if one of these QBs reunites with their former coach in Las Vegas. At the moment, the big question is which of these two quarterbacks is atop the Raiders’ wish list.

Elsewhere in Raiders QB news, the organization is set to meet with Carr soon. As Vincent Bonsignore of the Las Vegas Review-Journal explains, the QB and the Raiders agreed to meet after the season to “discuss the situation and all the various options.”

49ers Aiming To Have Deebo Samuel, Elijah Mitchell At Practice This Week

Kyle Shanahan offered a rare 49ers news development Monday: the team did not suffer a notable injury during its most recent game. In fact, the 49ers are hoping to have two of their key cogs back at practice soon.

Deebo Samuel has progressed to the point the team hopes he can practice as soon as this week, Shanahan said, and Elijah Mitchell is on track to make a quicker return from his second MCL sprain this year. The 49ers are eyeing a Friday practice for Mitchell, via the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch and ESPN.com’s Nick Wagoner (Twitter links).

MCL sprains have provided trouble for the 49ers this season. Mitchell, Samuel and a few others have missed time because of this injury. Mitchell missed eight games because of the knee malady he suffered in Week 1. This time around, the timetable may not be as lengthy. Mitchell, who has gone from Week 1 starter to an often-used Christian McCaffrey backup, went down against the Saints late last month and has missed the required four games.

The 49ers designating Mitchell for return Friday would mean they can activate him as soon as Week 17 — an unlikely scenario — or as late as the divisional round, provided the team reaches that point. Even if the 49ers hold off on Mitchell playing this week or next, it appears he will be ready to return when the team begins its postseason slate.

Shanahan confirmed what has long been reported Monday; San Francisco’s final IR-return spot is being earmarked for Mitchell. The second-year running back has already returned from IR once this season, but an offseason rule change allows for the same player to be activated two times in a season. The other 49ers option here would be defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway, but Wagoner adds (via Twitter) Mitchell is closer to returning. Ridgeway has missed the past three games with a pectoral injury.

The 49ers did not place Samuel on IR, keeping the door open for an immediate return. The All-Pro wide receiver has missed the past two games with an MCL sprain and a sprained ankle. The 49ers did not seem as concerned about Samuel’s status compared to the likes of Mitchell or Azeez Al-Shaair, who also suffered an MCL sprain that sidelined him several weeks, indicating the recently extended pass catcher could return before the regular season ended. Samuel has missed the past two games. While Samuel (840 scrimmage yards) is not on the same pace he was in 2021 (1,770), he is a rare weapon that will bolster the team’s chances of reaching a second Super Bowl in four seasons.

Football Outsiders gives the 49ers (11-4) a 30% chance of leapfrogging the Vikings (12-3) for the NFC’s No. 2 seed. The 49ers have clinched at least the NFC’s No. 3 seed, though the second spot would put the team in position to play two postseason home games. A 49ers-Vikings tie would give San Francisco the 2 seed due to a superior conference record. The 49ers close the season with games against the Raiders and Cardinals; the Vikes travel to Green Bay and Chicago.

Additionally, Shanahan said Jimmy Garoppolo had his cast removed from his broken foot. Garoppolo is not on IR, but the 49ers do not expect him to return this season.

49ers Do Not Plan To Place Jimmy Garoppolo On IR

DECEMBER 11: Despite the team’s decision to keep Garoppolo on the 53-man roster, there is little chance he plays again this season, as Ian Rapoport of NFL.com confirms. Rapoport hears that Garoppolo may not be ready to return to game action until three months from the date he suffered the injury, a timeframe that would put the quarterback at full strength when free agency in March, but not quite in time to have an impact on the 49ers’ fortunes this season.

DECEMBER 9: San Francisco has lost its top two quarterbacks this season — one to a season-ending ankle injury and the other to a foot ailment that is likely to end his season. While Trey Lance will not return before the 49ers’ offseason program, the door slightly ajar to Jimmy Garoppolo to factor into this season again.

Garoppolo avoided a Lisfranc injury, and a subsequent report indicated he will not need surgery. This would put a recovery in time for a return late in the playoffs on the table, though Kyle Shanahan did his best to minimize this scenario’s likelihood. But John Lynch said the team does plan to keep Garoppolo on its 53-man roster.

What I can tell you, as of right now, we’re not going to move Jimmy to IR,” Lynch said during an interview with KNBR’s Paul McCaffrey and Markus Boucher (via 49erswebzone.com). “I think we’re just going to carry him on our roster, and we’re going to kind of see how this rehab process goes. There’s a natural healing process that has to take place.”

Lynch confirmed no tendon tears occurred but noted the team will not rush Garoppolo back to simply increase its chances of winning a sixth Super Bowl. The 49ers worked with Garoppolo on a trade this offseason, but the parties reached a solution in late August to reunite. Shanahan approached Garoppolo about the compromise shortly after training camp began, and after the longtime San Francisco starter did not find a trade partner, they agreed on a reunion. It appears the sides will work together and prioritize Garoppolo’s long-term interests after his latest injury as well.

Garoppolo’s restructure prevents the 49ers from franchise-tagging him in 2023. Barring an extension — which was in play prior to the injury — the 31-year-old passer is headed toward free agency come March. Still, Lynch did not slam the door shut regarding a January return. Garoppolo’s seven- to eight-week timetable would line up with either the divisional round or the NFC championship game.

I think there was a lot of good news in that it wasn’t the Lisfranc. There weren’t torn tendons and all that,” Lynch said. “There’s a healing process that has to take place. How quickly it will heal, that’s in the good lord’s hands, and so we’ll sit back and see. I think we were encouraged, but I think Kyle also said it’s also highly unlikely. It’s a big ask.

Jimmy’s got a really bright future and a lot of years in front of him. We’re not going to put him in a bad position. So we’ll continue to consult with the doctors and let them kind of guide that decision. But there was some encouraging news earlier this week.”

This will be a long time for the 49ers to carry a player on their active roster they do not deem likely to play again this season. San Francisco’s IR situation did become complicated a few weeks ago, however, and Elijah Mitchell‘s second MCL sprain this year will limit the NFC West leaders’ options regarding injury activations.

The 49ers have already activated Jimmie Ward, linebacker Curtis Robinson, Mitchell (after MCL sprain No. 1), Azeez Al-Shaair, tackle Colton McKivitz, defensive lineman Jordan Willis and Jason Verrett. After the league gave teams unprecedented freedom to activate players on and off IR in 2020 and ’21, it put an eight-activation cap on such moves this year. Players activated from teams’ PUP, NFI and IR lists are grouped together under this formula, giving the 49ers — who also have defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw on IR and just saw D-lineman Hassan Ridgeway suffer a pectoral strain that will cost him six to eight weeks — in a tight spot. Ridgeway remains on San Francisco’s active roster.

The 49ers signed Josh Johnson off the Broncos’ practice squad, bringing the team- and league-hopping QB back for a fourth time. But this year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, will be tasked with steering the ship to the playoffs. Garoppolo’s potential return will be a key NFC subplot during this span, should the 49ers remain alive by mid-January.

Jimmy Garoppolo Does Not Need Surgery, Has Chance To Return This Season

DECEMBER 7: Shanahan splashed cold water on the Garoppolo-in-January scenario. The sixth-year 49ers HC called it a “way outside” chance Garoppolo can come back late in the playoffs, via Garafolo (on Twitter). Noting Garoppolo still has a big recovery ahead, Shanahan said he is not especially optimistic about the comeback possibility. That said, the 49ers are not ruling this out.

DECEMBER 6: The 49ers will need to get by without Jimmy Garoppolo for an extended stretch, but they now have a shot to see him play again this season. Good news emerged on Garoppolo’s foot injury Tuesday, with Adam Schefter of ESPN.com noting the veteran passer does not need surgery (Twitter link).

Garoppolo has a chance to return after a seven- or eight-week span, per Schefter. That would put him on track to potentially suit up again for San Francisco in the playoffs. Kyle Shanahan had said multiple times since the foot injury Garoppolo was done for the season. It now appears that is not the case just yet.

The ninth-year passer avoiding a Lisfranc injury and ligament damage sets the table for a potential January re-emergence, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets, adding that the most likely scenario remains Garoppolo missing the rest of the season.

While the wild-card round will occur before Garoppolo’s return window opens, the divisional round (Jan. 22-23) could feature a Garoppolo subplot. Of course, the 49ers would have to qualify — something they have not done without Garoppolo under this current regime — but the prospect of having their top QB back in uniform would represent quite the variable for a team with a No. 1-ranked defense and a four-All-Pro offense.

San Francisco (8-4) has won five straight games and now holds a one-game lead on Seattle in the NFC West. The seven-team playoff bracket, which debuted last season, allows only one team per conference to skip wild-card weekend. While the 49ers do not appear a threat to earn the conference’s top seed, securing a first-round home game would obviously better position the well-assembled team for a chance to be in a second-round game with Garoppolo back at the helm.

With a healthy Garoppolo (excluding the 2017 season, when the team was out of contention upon acquiring him from the Patriots), the 49ers are 2-for-2 in NFC championship game appearances. They advanced that far despite the former trade acquisition battling multiple maladies last season, though the team could not match the Rams’ firepower in a game marred by a Jaquiski Tartt dropped interception. The 49ers have made a leap defensively this year, ranking first in total defense and points allowed. This, along with the Trent WilliamsGeorge KittleDeebo SamuelChristian McCaffrey quartet being healthy, stands to make life easier on Brock Purdy. Though, the 49ers beating the Dolphins with Purdy and doing enough to secure a division title with this year’s Mr. Irrelevant obviously carry differing degrees of difficulty.

Tuesday’s news further highlights the 49ers’ decision to regroup with Garoppolo, whom they spent months trying to trade. Garoppolo is coming off an offseason that included a shoulder surgery, one that occurred in March to effectively crush his trade value, and played through thumb and calf injuries last season. It is no sure thing the 31-year-old passer returns this season, and his free agency stands to play a role. But the 49ers are open to pursuing another Garoppolo contract — at least, they were before this injury occurred — so a playoff return could provide a springboard to a second extension. Trey Lance again looms as a 2023 variable, but the former No. 3 overall pick’s broken ankle created another hurdle for a historically unusual QB prospect.

For now, Purdy and Josh Johnson — a fourth-stint 49er whom the team added off the Broncos’ practice squad — will try to stay the course. Shanahan expressed doubt the team would claim Baker Mayfield, and Schefter adds (via Twitter) it did not. The Rams claiming the ex-Browns and Panthers starter rendered that issue moot anyway.

NFC West Notes: 49ers, Rams, OBJ, Hawks

Nearly three months after losing Trey Lance to a season-ending broken ankle, the 49ers saw Lance insurance policy Jimmy Garoppolo go down with a broken foot. Although Garoppolo’s exact prognosis is being determined, Kyle Shanahan said again Monday he is done for the season. Garoppolo appears to, however, have avoided Lisfranc trouble, Shanahan said (via The Athletic’s Matt Barrows, on Twitter). Garoppolo went through an offseason of trade talk and has long been expected to hit free agency, but a report surfacing hours before his latest injury indicated the 49ers are interested in another reunion. Garoppolo’s third season-ending injury as a 49er may well affect that, but Lisfranc trouble being avoided would aid the nine-year veteran as he attempts to successfully navigate another rehab program.

Here is the latest from the NFC West:

  • Staying with the 49ers, they lost one of their defensive linemen to another significant injury. Hassan Ridgeway sustained a pectoral strain and will miss six to eight weeks, Shanahan said. Ridgeway operated as the 49ers’ Arik Armstead replacement for much of this season, making seven starts for the NFL’s No. 1-ranked defense. Armstead made a long-awaited return in Week 13, but the team is now without Ridgeway and Javon Kinlaw. San Francisco has a complicated IR situation, having used seven of its eight injury activations already. If the team wants to have Elijah Mitchell back, it cannot activate Kinlaw. This situation may end Ridgeway’s season, if the 49ers move him to IR. Of course, it might come down to which player is readiest come playoff time.
  • The Rams kept a locker reserved for Odell Beckham Jr., though as it becomes clear the free agent wideout is not returning to Los Angeles, they are no longer doing so. OBJ previously expressed dissatisfaction with the Rams’ offer, and The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue notes the team submitted an incentive-laden proposal. That said, Rodrigue adds the Rams were flexible regarding the back end of the deal. Beckham has wanted a multiyear commitment. It will be interesting to see how Beckham’s next team ends up compensating him, as he is 30 and has sustained two ACL tears within a 20-month span. Waiting until 2023 — when a thin free agency wideout class is expected to be available — may have been Beckham’s better play.
  • Matt Rhule‘s poaching of NFL assistants is not limited to the Panthers’ staff. The new Nebraska HC is bringing over Rams offensive assistant Jake Peetz, Pete Thamel of ESPN.com tweets. Peetz, who coached Panthers quarterbacks under Rhule in 2020, is expected to reprise that role with the Cornhuskers. Peetz, who also played at Nebraska during the mid-2000s, follows Panthers assistant D-line coach Terrance Knighton as active NFL staffers set to leave their current gigs for Lincoln.
  • The Packers claimed Justin Hollins off waivers from the Rams, but Field Yates of ESPN.com notes (via Twitter) the Seahawks also submitted a claim for the young linebacker. Hollins has played in two Packers games as a reserve. Unlike recent Seahawks waiver claim Johnathan Abram, Hollins has seen extensive defensive action (35 plays) in Green Bay thus far.

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo Out For Season

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.