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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan doesn’t see Jimmy Garoppolo returning to 49ers, isn’t looking to add a veteran starting QB

Feb 1, 2023 at 12:37 PM--

It remains to be seen how things will play out at the quarterback position for the San Francisco 49ers in 2023, but one thing the team doesn't appear to be interested in is adding another front line veteran to the picture who is capable of excelling as a starter if things didn't work out with Brock Purdy or Trey Lance.

That includes Jimmy Garoppolo, whose time with the 49ers appears to have come to an end.

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed the quarterback situation during his year-end press conference Wednesday, which included questions about what kind of quarterback the team might look to add in the weeks ahead. Speculation swirled recently over the possibility of the 49ers being interested in Tom Brady before he announced his retirement earlier on Wednesday, but it doesn't sound like the team will be doing anything along those lines, even if they need to add more help to the position in the near future.

"I know we have two starters on our team right now that I believe we can win with," Shanahan said. "So when you have that situation, you're not that eager to go looking around."

The obvious fit for the 49ers if they chose to pursue a veteran with starting ability is Garoppolo, who has been with the team since 2017 and returned to the fold unexpectedly last August after most expected he'd be traded elsewhere. But with two young quarterbacks in Purdy and Lance that the team has confidence in along with the likelihood Garoppolo will want to pursue an opportunity to start, Shanahan doesn't envision a situation where Garoppolo would be back with the 49ers in 2023.

"No, I don't see any scenario of that," Shanahan said.

With Lance coming off an ankle injury that ended his season in Week 2 and Purdy about to head into surgery for a torn UCL in his elbow that he suffered in the 49ers' NFC Championship loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, there will be plenty of outside interest surrounding how things turn out at quarterback for the 49ers before the start of the upcoming season. The fact that Purdy played well enough down the stretch in 2022 to make a case for being the team's quarterback of the future over Lance will make things especially intriguing, once both quarterbacks are back on the field. But as of now, Shanahan isn't too worried about which one of them will emerge from the pack whenever the smoke clears.

"Things I haven't even thought about it at all. Right now we're just working on coaches and I think that stuff will play itself out by training camp," Shanahan said.

As of now, the 49ers expect to get Lance back from his injury early in spring workouts. Shanahan said the team hopes to ease Lance into action over Phase 1 and Phase 2 of offseason workouts, which would then hopefully put him at full capacity once Organized Team Activities arrive in Phase 3. Purdy, meanwhile, will likely have a timetable of recovery that would ideally put him in a position to be ready by the time training camp gets into full swing. Meanwhile, Shanahan doesn't seem to be overly worried about any possible quarterback battle until both players are on the field.

"I don't think there's much to handle," Shanahan said. "One guy can't go and the other guy should be ready for OTAs. OTAs haven't been that consistent over the last 3-4 years since COVID. They keep being a little bit more different each year, so it's not as big of a deal as it used to be. But it sounds like we'll have at least one guy for it."

Both Shanahan and John Lynch expressed confidence Wednesday in Purdy's durability throughout his career while also labeling his elbow injury as a freak occurrence, so it doesn't seem like they're concerned about the possibility of having two injury-prone quarterbacks on their hands. Still, the team will add a quarterback somewhere along the line in order to establish depth. What type of quarterback could that be when the time comes? Shanahan plans on keeping that simple.

"The best available that can fit into the structure of our team and salary cap and all that," Shanahan said.

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