TO BE DETERMINED…
Niner Report|February/March 2021
49ers enter offseason with options at QB
Craig Massei

JIMMY GAROPPOLO

Just as they did a few weeks earlier in December, John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan during their 2020 season-wrap news conference doubled-down on their proclamation that Jimmy Garoppolo will be the 49ers’ starting quarterback again in 2021.

“Kyle and I both have spoken and spoken fairly directly as to the fact that we expect Jimmy to be our quarterback,” Lynch said.

“I’ll just echo on that,” Shanahan said. It’s an echo that will carry the 49ers into an uncertain offseason at the quarterback position since Garoppolo did nothing during his injury-plagued 2020 season to suggest he’s getting better as a quarterback or is still the guy to take the 49ers forward behind center as San Francisco attempts to bounce back from an unexpected last-place finish that kept the defending NFC champions out of the playoffs.

Who really knows what the 49ers are thinking? After watching Garoppolo struggle to stay healthy while missing most of the season to injury for the second time in three years, can they really be as committed as they say to a veteran who will turn 30 this year in his eighth NFL season?

Those questions also will echo and reverberate throughout the NFL while the 49ers consider their myriad options at the game’s most important position during the upcoming months.

It could be time for San Francisco to make a change and move on from Garoppolo, which is what several NFL analysts have professed the 49ers will do. Now could be the best time to do it, and there are several factors that suggest it could be what’s best for the team.

Then there’s the fact that Garoppolo always has been what’s best for the 49ers at quarterback ever since he joined the team midway through the 2017 season. San Francisco is 249 with an NFC title and a trip to the Super Bowl with Garoppolo starting behind center. The 49ers are 7-27 without him as the starter since the beginning of the 2017 season.

Those are the bottom-line numbers working in Garoppolo’s favor. He’s a winner. When healthy and in quality from last season, he was good enough to produce one of the best statistical seasons by a quarterback in franchise history while lifting the 49ers into Super Bowl LIV, a game during which Garoppolo was the odds on favorite to be game MVP heading into the fourth quarter with the 49ers holding a 10-point lead.

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