Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Montana thinks 49ers should start Jimmy Garoppolo in 2023

Feb 5, 2023 at 1:44 PM--

Jimmy Garoppolo's time with the San Francisco 49ers has likely come to an end. The veteran quarterback is slated to hit the free-agency market next month and will probably cash in on a lucrative deal, playing elsewhere in 2023.

Brock Purdy, who completed an impressive rookie campaign but suffered a UCL tear in the NFC Championship Game and will likely miss about six months, would have been the frontrunner to start during the upcoming season. Now, it's looking like Trey Lance, the team's No. 3 overall draft pick in 2021, will have a leg up this offseason with Purdy sidelined.

If it were up to one Hall of Fame quarterback, the 49ers would stick with Garoppolo.

"Well, I start Jimmy," Joe Montana told Mike Silver of the San Francisco Chronicle during the Open Mike podcast when asked what he would do if the quarterback decision were his. "He has won a lot of games. I can't say the same for Trey, right? You don't know that from him. I don't think it's hard. I think you just start Jimmy."

It would take a lot for the 49ers to convince Garoppolo to return. They cannot use the franchise tag on the quarterback, a fact Silver points out, and they aren't likely to enter a bidding war for the veteran.

When asked if he could envision a situation where Garoppolo might return to the 49ers in 2023, head coach Kyle Shanahan responded, "No, I don't see any scenario of that."

The 49ers seem content in pushing forward with Purdy and Lance, despite both coming back from injuries. Before he got hurt, Purdy helped the 49ers win the final eight games of their 12-game win streak after replacing Garoppolo, who sustained a broken foot on December 4.

Montana believes Garoppolo's record speaks for itself.

"He still won a lot of games before he got hurt, right?" Montana commented. "And so he put [Purdy] in that position to be able to go on that run, to begin with. So you handed a guy a team, sort of like somebody else I know [who] got handed a good team."

Let's pause for a second to appreciate the candidness and bluntness of that last statement.

OK, moving on.

Montana added, "You've got to go with the guy who's been winning the game and gets the offense and go from there."

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