Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Kyle Shanahan says parting with Jimmy Garoppolo would be hard now that a rookie QB is on the way

Apr 26, 2021 at 2:16 PM--

When the question arose during 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch's predraft press conference of whether or not quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would still be on the 49ers roster at the end of this week, Shanahan at first gave a very unusual and cryptic answer.

Shanahan and Lynch were asked directly early in Monday's press conference if they could guarantee Garoppolo would remain with the team through Sunday, given the fact they intend to draft his eventual replacement with the third overall pick in this week's NFL Draft. Shanahan answered in the negative -- in his own, unique way.

"I can't guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday, so I can't guarantee who will be on our roster on Sunday," Shanahan said. "So that goes for all of us."

That comment quickly became the butt of some jokes on social media, while also getting a hilarious response from 49ers tight end George Kittle. Along the way, it raised a few eyebrows due to the fact that the team had previously seemed committed to keeping Garoppolo on board for another season. But if Shanahan appeared non-committal at first, he changed his tone later in the press conference, saying it would be difficult to walk away from the desirable situation of having an experienced veteran to pair with whichever rookie the 49ers decide to add on Thursday night.

"The biggest thing with Jimmy is his injuries," Shanahan said. "It's been very tough for us when he's been hurt and it's happened two out of these three years. That's where it starts. And Jimmy knows that. I've been very upfront with him with everything. We've been Zooming these last two weeks. (I'm) excited to get him in here coming up, especially when this draft's over. But I feel very fortunate taking a rookie quarterback that we do have a guy like Jimmy. We didn't sign a guy who's capable or has the history of being a starter right away, but we have a guy who every time he's been a starter has played at a high level. So to have that with Jimmy while adding a rookie quarterback gives us a lot of leeway into this.

"I'm not going to set anything in stone, but I know that's a situation that it would be hard to get rid of. When you take a rookie quarterback and you have a veteran like Jimmy who we know we can win with, just to move on from that is something that is not easy to do. That is a good situation for us and I think that's something that will be important to us this year."

Lynch said Garoppolo has continued to react well to the situation and was continuing to plan on being with the team in the weeks ahead.

"Jimmy's been a pro," Lynch said. "He really has. I just spoke to him over the weekend. He's here. He's taking part in our virtual meetings, plans on being at the workouts, and Jimmy's been completely professional as he always has been with us.

"I think the thought is, and I'm sure some might say, 'Okay, if all those things are the case and he's extremely talented, why are you doing this? Why did you make such a bold move?' So much goes into that. But Jimmy knows I think one thing we've tried to do with all our players and Jimmy as well is just be very upfront and honest with what we're doing and why we're doing it. My experience as a player, when people do that you can live with that."

In March, not long after the 49ers made the trade that shipped two future first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Dolphins in order to jump from pick 12 to pick 3, Lynch told reporters Garoppolo was "very much still a part" of the team's plans. Lynch and Shanahan weren't quite as convincing on that front Monday, so expect Garoppolo's situation to remain a storyline as the NFL Draft proceeds.

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