Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports

Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has started the last two games for the team. He is a perfect 2-0 as a starter since joining the 49ers and 4-0 over his career.

Teammates, coaches, and fans have been impressed with Garoppolo's play on the field. Team executives like general manager John Lynch may have seen enough as well. Safety Adrian Colbert has nicknamed the quarterback "Franchise," which according to a recent report by NFL insider Ian Rapoport, may be fitting.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan has repeatedly indicated the 49ers are willing to use the franchise tag on Garoppolo during the offseason. The move would not be unexpected and would provide the 49ers move time to work on a long-term deal with Garoppolo, who is scheduled to become a free agent in 2018. Obviously, the 49ers don't want the quarterback to hit the open market.

While the 49ers are ready and willing to use the franchise tag on Garoppolo, which would guarantee the quarterback a one-year sum more significant than the $21.3 million designated for the position in 2017, Rapoport told KNBR on Monday morning that the 49ers would prefer to work out a long-term deal.

RELATED Key 49ers player and team stats from 26-16 win over the Texans

"My understanding has been they want to do the long-term," Rapoport said on the "Murph & Mac" show. "It definitely depends on if you can work it out financially. We've seen some teams in the past want to do long-term deals and then just be not quite able to work it out, and a player ends up playing on the tag ... To me, this has always been long-term.

"Let's say he had gone out and really struggled (during) these couple of starts ... I could have easily said, 'Alright, it's probably because he's playing with not a great cast of players and if the 49ers are unsure at all, they could just tag him and then kind of move forward like that.'

"Well, now that there are really no concerns at all, then I figure he is getting the tag and so any deal negotiated would be based off that. So, if you know that, then you could do the deal in advance of the tag if both sides want to work together and I would imagine they do."

None of what Rapoport said is much of a surprise. It just comes following another strong performance by Garoppolo, who has passed for 627 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions during his two starts. His passing yards total in those games are the most by a 49ers quarterback in his first two starts since the merger in 1970.

The 49ers' salary cap space is projected to eclipse $100 million in 2018, making whatever decision they choose easy to manage financially.

With the quarterback in place for the 49ers, Rapoport doesn't believe that draft position is all that important for the 49ers, who would be selecting third overall if the season ended today.

"Who cares," Rapoport said. "Honestly, if you don't need to draft a quarterback, which I think they probably don't, then what the heck is the difference between three and four, three and five. If you can do well and show some improvement, whatever."

You can listen to the entire interview with Rapoport below: