Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan: Keeping Jimmy Garoppolo a ‘win-win’ for the 49ers; Trey Lance is QB1

Aug 30, 2022 at 12:23 PM--

It seemed unlikely that Jimmy Garoppolo would be with the San Francisco 49ers this season. The quarterback was not practicing with the team. He was not in team meetings. He didn't even have a playbook.

On Monday, the 49ers sent shockwaves through social media by agreeing to a one-year contract restructure with Garoppolo, making the veteran quarterback Trey Lance's backup in 2022. Shanahan isn't concerned that Garoppolo hasn't been preparing as if he would be on the roster.

"We have zero worries about him not having a playbook," Shanahan said via a conference call on Tuesday while nearly laughing. "I don't have one either. We have zero worries about that."

The media wanted to know why Garoppolo didn't participate more throughout training camp if there was a chance of the quarterback remaining with the organization.

"I think that was because the chances, to me, it seemed slim to none, just with the possibility of that happening," Shanahan answered. "... I remember the first week of training camp, me saying to Jimmy, 'Hey, if you don't like any of these opportunities, if you don't go to the place you want, you can't get the contract you want, we would love to have you here as a backup, in a backup role, and that deal. I want you to know we feel that way, but I also think there's no way you're not going to get something as this goes throughout training camp.'

"Jimmy agreed with that. And so we waited all throughout training camp. Then, I think as he saw other situations out there, and I think, to me, it just seemed like everyone was just waiting for us to cut him so they could see how much they could get him for. But once the last Saturday preseason game happened, and no one got injured, then Jimmy thought this was his best situation that he liked. And that's why we were so pumped because it's obviously a better situation for the Niners.

"We love getting Jimmy back, but having him there earlier in camp wasn't an option. I mean, we weren't going to put him out there in practice for his sake and for our sake. I mean, he was on a $24 million contract, and he was going to go somewhere else. But none of that came into fruition, which we would have ended up having to let him go under that current deal. [Keeping him under the old deal] wasn't an option."

Shanahan admits that he and Lynch were pretty shocked by how things turned out but are glad that it resulted in a stronger 49ers roster.

"We thought it was a win-win for both sides," Shanahan added.

As for Lance, the coach reaffirmed that the second-year quarterback is their starter. Garoppolo will be the backup, and Lynch revealed that rookie Brock Purdy would also make the 53-man roster, ending Nate Sudfeld's time with the team.

"Trey's our starting quarterback," Shanahan said. "... This doesn't change anything. I just feel it makes us a much better team and doesn't hurt our cap like it would have."

The coach said that conversations with Lance went well. The 49ers made it clear that if Garoppolo returned, it would be as the 22-year-old quarterback's backup.

"That was the only option," Shanahan said. "And we told that to Trey also. Trey and Jimmy have a great relationship. Trey actually likes having Jimmy in the building, and Trey was very grateful to how Jimmy was to him last year. And we feel very strongly from the two people that Jimmy will give that back to Trey this year."

Lynch said the 49ers didn't want to allow a talented player like Garoppolo to just walk away from the team without getting something in return. Nothing materialized because of the shoulder surgery he underwent on March 8. About a month ago, Lynch and Shanahan started discussing possibly keeping Garoppolo as a backup.

Lynch added: "Yesterday was a really good day for this organization. It was because of our belief in our team, as it's currently constructed, that we wanted to add another piece. And it was from in-house with Jimmy, and we're really pleased that we were able to do it with everyone's cooperation. It took a lot of patience, and we feel that was rewarded."

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