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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Rapoport: 49ers and Jimmy Garoppolo open to QB returning in 2023

Dec 4, 2022 at 7:42 AM--

Could quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo return to the San Francisco 49ers in 2023? No one thought it was possible he would be on the roster for Week 1 of this season, so it's impossible to say anything with certainty about next season.

"A few months after the team and Garoppolo amicably decided to move on, only to get back together again in a wild sequence of events that led to him being their starting QB once again, both sides are open to him being back for the 2023 season, sources say," wrote NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

Those "wild sequence of events" were Garoppolo undergoing offseason shoulder surgery, plummeting the 49ers' chances of trading the quarterback, which they were eager to do, signing a restructured one-year deal to serve as Trey Lance's backup this season because of the lack of trade interest, and then being thrust back into the starting lineup after Lance went down with a season-ending ankle injury.

Rapoport adds, "It's early with plenty of season left, but that scenario is not off the table."

Garoppolo is familiar with head coach Kyle Shanahan's system and has proven that he can be successful in it. He is a locker room favorite too. Michael Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle recently asked the quarterback if that familiarity with the 49ers and his fondness for his teammates could entice a return to the team in 2023.

RELATED Jimmy Garoppolo: Familiarity could sway me to return to 49ers

"I think it would sway me, definitely, a little bit," Garoppolo responded. "But we'll approach that when we get to the situation. We've just got to keep playing good football, and things will take care of themselves."

Garoppolo is scheduled to become a free agent after the season, at the 49ers can't utilize the franchise tag on him, per their agreement on the restructured deal. Several NFL teams are expected to seek starting quarterbacks in March, once free agency kicks off.

Later today, Garoppolo and the 49ers will face the Miami Dolphins, with both teams hoping to keep their win streaks going. This past week, Garoppolo revealed that Miami was one of the teams potentially in the mix for the quarterback.

"I mean, they were in the conversation," Garoppolo told reporters. "Not much came from it, but they were definitely one of the teams in the conversation. It seemed like a good spot. As an offense, that's tremendous skill players, everything they got going over there. Mike [McDaniel] being a great coach. I had been with him in the past here, and it was discussed, but I'm glad the way things worked out."

One 49ers beat writer can only envision one scenario resulting in Garoppolo's return in 2023.

"I think the only scenario where he comes back is if he leads this team to a Super Bowl victory," Matt Barrows of The Athletic told the No Huddle Podcast this past week. "Because if he doesn't [win it all], then we're back to 2019. It's like, 'He's good, but he can't win the big game against a Patrick Mahomes or a Josh Allen.' I feel like Jimmy Garoppolo could set the world on fire between now and February 12, and if he's flat on February 12, or even they lose the game—you mention 49ers Twitter—they'll turn on him. I feel like that's the only scenario where he comes back."

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