Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Tom Pelissero: One thing Jimmy Garoppolo must do to remain the 49ers’ starter in 2021

Jul 20, 2021 at 10:33 AM--

Jimmy Garoppolo is 24-9 (including the playoffs) as a starter since being traded to the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. The coaching staff doesn't doubt the quarterback's ability to win football games. It perhaps doubts his availability, though, and that prompted the decision to trade up to draft Trey Lance at No. 3 overall.

Garoppolo missed 10 games last season and has missed 23 games over the past three. Now, when he looks over his shoulder, he sees a 21-year-old quarterback itching to get onto the football field. So what does Garoppolo need to do to hold onto his starting job in 2021?

The answer isn't rocket science and shouldn't come as a surprise.

"Stay healthy," NFL Network's Tom Pelissero said on Good Morning Football. "The guy is 24-and-8 (regular season with Patriots and 49ers) as a starting quarterback in the NFL. I know that wins are not a quarterback stat, but it speaks to the fact that Jimmy, when he has been on the field, he's played pretty well. In his one full season in his career, went to the Super Bowl."

Pelissero notes that Garoppolo's injury history isn't limited to his time with San Francisco. The quarterback had an opportunity to start in New England for a suspended Tom Brady but exited his second start with a shoulder injury.

Garoppolo staying healthy and playing well can benefit the 49ers, too. Team decision-makers will have an interesting problem and decision on their hands if the veteran quarterback can stay on the field.

"If he can stay on the field, it benefits everybody," Pelissero continued. "The 49ers, who want to have time here to develop Trey Lance, on a team that they think, by the way, could be a Super Bowl contender right now. And then you're left with a beautiful question in 2022, which is: Do you stick with Jimmy Garoppolo because he was able to stay healthy, because he played well, because you were back in the playoffs? Or do you trade him when his value is a whole lot high than if you traded him right now?"

Pelissero was asked if it's a lock that Garoppolo starts Week 1 and isn't beaten out by the rookie quarterback.

"Not many things are a lock in the NFL," Pelissero responded. "I would say it's a high-percentage chance, based on what we know right now."

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