Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Rapoport: Jimmy Garoppolo helping his future with deep 49ers playoff run

Jan 24, 2022 at 12:40 PM--

People keep writing off Jimmy Garoppolo, and the San Francisco 49ers quarterback keeps winning football games. He's now won three consecutive starts while playing with a pretty severe right thumb injury. First, his Niners beat the Los Angeles Rams to clinch a playoff berth in the final regular-season game. Then, he helped his team upset the NFC East champions, the Dallas Cowboys. On Saturday, Garoppolo was part of a stunner, helping knock off the top-seeded Green Bay Packers.

By the way, each of those games was on the road, including the frigid matchup this past weekend at Lambeau Field.

Garoppolo's teammates believe in him. His coaches obviously believe in him. Kyle Shanahan has stuck with the veteran passer, despite having the No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance, on deck, awaiting his opportunity.

That opportunity will come—just probably not this season. Most still expect the 49ers to transition from Garoppolo to Lance during the offseason. Garoppolo, however, is doing everything in his power to delay that transition by winning playoff games.

NFL insider Ian Rapoport doesn't believe Garoppolo has done anything in recent weeks to change the 49ers' plan for after the season. Lance only started two games this season because of injuries to Garoppolo. He'll likely be the full-time starter in September.

"I hate to sound like a broken record, but I kind of see it to where it was," Rapoport said Monday of the 49ers' quarterback situation on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "Unless I'm missing something, I haven't seen anything that has changed where this is all going, which is with Trey Lance eventually being the franchise guy. Garoppolo is the starter now, and I would say not everything goes according to plan in life, in football, in everything, but this kind of has been the 49ers' plan."

That plan was to find Garoppolo's successor. Check. Then let that rookie sit and learn as Garoppolo led what they felt was a playoff-caliber roster. Check.

Everything has worked out as planned, despite the outside noise from those pressuring the organization to transition from the veteran to the exciting rookie sooner.

"Remember, they thought, before the season, they had a playoff-ready roster and that Garoppolo was the best person to get them to the playoffs," Rapoport said. "That happened. He is the best person to be in the playoffs with them. This has happened. And then, after the season, I would imagine they take a hard long look at it and say, 'Has Jimmy Garoppolo done anything to change our mind that Trey Lance is the future starter?'

"My guess is the answer is, 'No,' but it's OK because everyone's going to be fine. Garoppolo, assuming they go through with a trade, is going to end up great. He's going to make some money. Trey Lance is going to be great. He'll be the starter at some point. And then everybody will move forward, and that's a pretty good transition if you ask me."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Rapoport below.

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