Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Will Jimmy Garoppolo return to the 49ers? ‘I think we’ve spoken clearly to that,’ says John Lynch

Jan 4, 2021 at 2:14 PM--

General manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan sat down to speak with reporters (virtually, of course) on Monday and discussed the future of the San Francisco 49ers. The two expect quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to be part of that future.

"Yes, I want Jimmy back as (part of) our core," Shanahan said. "Good thing he's not a free agent. ... Of course I want our starting quarterback back and all our other starting players too."

The two were asked about Garoppolo because the quarterback position is slated to be this offseason's top 49ers-related storyline, just as it was last offseason leading to free agency. Lynch and Shanahan backed Garoppolo as the starting quarterback next season, as they have repeatedly done each time they are asked about him.

"As for the quarterback position, Kyle and I both have spoken, and spoken fairly directly as to the fact that we expect Jimmy to be our quarterback," Lynch said. "That's consistently met with other stories, but that's not of concern to us. As of right now, Jed (York) has charged us with being the two guys, obviously with a lot of input from a lot of people, who make those types of decisions, and I think we've spoken clearly to that."

That doesn't mean the position is set, though. Garoppolo is the only quarterback signed for next season. C.J. Beathard will be an unrestricted free agent, Nick Mullens a restricted one, and Josh Rosen an exclusive-rights free agent. Making things even more complicated is that Mullens suffered an injury that will likely keep him out through at least training camp, so the 49ers need to make a decision there.

That means the 49ers will have to evaluate potential replacements more this offseason than in previous years and see if upgrades or re-signings are necessary. That could mean additions through the draft, free agency, or perhaps even a trade.

"Yeah, we'll look into it harder this year, but not for anything to make a big statement about or to tweet about," Shanahan said. "Last year, I was very happy with our starting quarterback. I was very happy and content with our second-string. I was very happy and content with our third-string. They were all under contract. We were good to go.

"Going into the offseason, it seemed like we had about three draft picks. ... So it's, 'Alright, we're not even touching quarterbacks. We're good with all three of ours. We don't need to look much into that.'"

Shanahan noted that the team did look into Tom Brady last offseason, but that was a unique situation. It's not often that one of the greatest to ever play the game becomes available. The 49ers felt it was necessary to at least entertain the possibility.

"This year, our backup and our third right now, one's restricted, and one's unrestricted, so we have to look into everything when you're trying to fill out a quarterback roster," Shanahan continued. "We have a starting quarterback, but we've got to either re-sign the guys we've got or see if we can upgrade them through the draft or free agency. In order to do that, you have to evaluate everything, so you know how to stack it and stuff. So, definitely be looking into a lot more of that stuff this year than we did last year."

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