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Beat writer weighs in on 49ers’ options surrounding Jimmy Garoppolo

Nov 21, 2020 at 2:14 PM--

Matt Barrows is a well-respected San Francisco 49ers beat writer. So, when he breaks down the team's options at quarterback, it's worth paying attention. That's exactly what Barrows did in his latest feature for The Athletic, breaking down the 49ers' options and even sharing his opinion — by assigning a percentage of likelihood — to each scenario.

You can visit The Athletic for the full breakdown. Note: Reading the article requires a subscription.

What was the most likely scenario, in Barrows' opinion?

The beat writer envisions Jimmy Garoppolo remaining with the 49ers in 2021. However, that doesn't necessarily mean Kyle Shanahan and company are content with the position's status quo. In addition to retaining its starting quarterback, Barrows can see the team drafting another signal-caller, serving notice that Garoppolo shouldn't get too comfy while adding some reliability behind him and perhaps creating a backup plan for the future.

That doesn't mean that they will use a first-round pick on a quarterback, however. Barrows sees the 49ers targeting someone after Day 1.

"And there may be some good options after the first round, beginning with Florida's Kyle Trask and Alabama's Mac Jones," wrote Barrows. "Neither has the fast feet or the rocket arms of the college quarterbacks listed earlier. But both have risen in an ultra-competitive conference and appear to be the type of players Shanahan has had some success with in the past."

Then there are the chances that the 49ers might dump Garoppolo and replace him with either another veteran or a first-round pick. Barrows sees both scenarios as less likely.

Barrows envisions some type of shakeup in the quarterback depth chart, determining that keeping the status quo is the least likely scenario. Both Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard are scheduled to become free agents. The former will be a restricted one while the latter an unrestricted one. The quarterback room remaining unchanged seems unlikely.

Shanahan did state this past week that he not only hopes Garoppolo can return from his high-ankle sprain before the end of this season but also discussed the quarterback's future with the 49ers.

"I expect Jimmy to be our starter next year," Shanahan said on Tuesday. "I mean, I expect him to come play with us this year (after he recovers). We have six games left. We are not out of the playoffs yet. ... We've got to do it one game at a time, and I hope Jimmy can come back and be a part of that. But to think that we've made any decisions on anybody going into the future isn't the case."

General manager John Lynch recently acknowledged that his scouts are doing their homework on college quarterbacks. A recent report from Bleacher Report stated that VP of player personnel Adam Peters traveled to watch BYU quarterback Zach Wilson.

Lynch also offered up a vote of confidence in Garoppolo.

"Here's what I know about Jimmy Garoppolo, and I think I've been consistent," Lynch said. "We're a better football team when he's out there. We win a lot of games when he's out there. We struggle to win without him."

Lynch added that Garoppolo has struggled this season, attributing much of that to his health. However, he also added that the 49ers still have "a lot of belief in Jimmy."

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