Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports


Mortensen: Most insiders believe 49ers will move on from Jimmy Garoppolo if there’s a better QB option

Jan 3, 2021 at 10:02 AM--


This probably won't come as a surprise to anyone. If the 49ers have an opportunity to upgrade at a position, they will try to do so — salary cap permitting. That's pretty much a given, and head coach Kyle Shanahan has said that the team will always look to improve, no matter the position.

That includes quarterback.

"You can't say anything with certainty," Shanahan said last week. "I mean, you don't sit here and make promises on anything. When we build a football team, it's your job to put the best team together year in and year out."

While Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have expressed confidence that Jimmy Garoppolo will be their quarterback in 2021, there is also the possibility that someone better comes along. The 49ers brain trust will look into any potential upgrades. They did so last offseason when Tom Brady was scheduled to hit free agency. However, in that case, they decided that the younger Garoppolo was the better long-term option.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen believes the same type of quarterback evaluation may occur during the upcoming offseason and that Garoppolo playing in the Bay Area in 2021 is far from a certainty.

"Garoppolo's injuries certainly complicate the picture," Mortensen said on Sunday NFL Countdown (h/t to Bleacher Report). "Kyle Shannahan, the coach said, he believes Garoppolo will be the quarterback in 2021, but he says he can't say it with certainty. Most league insiders believe if there's a better option, the 49ers will have somebody other than Garoppolo at the start of next season,"

While the statement shouldn't shock anyone because everyone's offseason goal is to improve, it does offer a reminding glimpse at the mindset of the national media surrounding San Francisco's quarterback situation.

After today's finale against the Seattle Seahawks, Garoppolo will have missed 23 games over the past three seasons with San Francisco. One factor complicating any decision by Shanahan and company is that the coach is 22-8 (24-9, including playoffs) with Garoppolo as his starter. Of course, availability is often the best ability, and Garoppolo has remained on the field for 16 games just once.

Nearly every potentially available quarterback has been mentioned as a possible replacement. Everyone from Matt Ryan, who had an MVP season with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator but will be 36 years old at the start of next season, and Matthew Stafford to Carson Wentz and Sam Darnold.

Then there is the draft. Although, a veteran quarterback ahead of a rookie in the depth chart would be preferable for a 49ers team that believes its championship window hasn't yet closed. Could that be Garoppolo, with whom Shanahan knows he can win games?

"Jimmy, you can win with," Shanahan said. "He's proven that. He's proven he's a starting quarterback in this league."

H/t to Patrick Tulini for the find.





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