SF 49ers say everything they can about Jimmy Garoppolo future

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10). Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10). Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

The SF 49ers continue to commit to Jimmy Garoppolo’s future in 2021 and beyond, but speculation isn’t biting.

As Week 17 was wrapping up, yet more inconclusive evidence surfaced suggesting the SF 49ers would move on from their starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, this offseason.

The report, initially stated by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on Sunday NFL Countdown (h/t Bleacher Report), said “Most league insiders believe if there’s a better option, the 49ers will have somebody other than Garoppolo at the start of next season.”

What exactly does that mean?

In short, the Niners like Garoppolo unless they can get their hands on someone better. It’s a statement that could be made about every single position on any single NFL roster. Nothing exactly striking there.

Nevertheless, reports like these have led to numerous questions from the media directed at San Francisco’s brass, namely general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, who spoke at length about Garoppolo’s future earlier this week.

“Yes, I want Jimmy back in our core,” Shanahan said in a press conference earlier this week. “Good thing he’s not a free agent. I was talking about most of the free agents, but of course I want our starting quarterback back and all our other starting players, too.”

Lynch also echoed similar sentiments in the same presser:

"Kyle and I both have spoken and spoken fairly directly as to the fact that we expect Jimmy to be our quarterback and that’s consistently met with other stories, but that’s not of concern to us because, as of right now, [CEO] Jed [York] has charged us with being the two guys. Obviously, with a lot of input from a lot of people who make those types of decisions and I think we’ve spoken clearly to that."

Fair enough, right? So why are the questions still coming?

For starters, Garoppolo suffering lengthy injuries in 2018 (an ACL tear in Week 3) and two high-ankle sprains in 2020 haven’t helped the quarterback’s long-term cause. Neither is the fact the salary cap-pressed Niners could clear $24.1 million in cap room if they were to move on from Garoppolo this offseason.

And then there are those “right fit” questions, even those from Hall of Famer Steve Young, fueling the speculation Shanahan and Lynch’s comments are a mere smoke show.

But perhaps the better indicator is the fact San Francisco hasn’t made an attempt to restructure Garoppolo’s contract, which would free up nearly $12 million in 2021 by adding additional years and prorating his signing bonus. The only issue with that, however, is it would commit the SF 49ers to their quarterback for at least an additional two years while also endangering the various “outs” worked into his contract where the Niners could move on from him with minimal dead money.

Considering San Francisco hasn’t gone that route in an offseason where the salary cap is expected to drop down to $176 million and the team has 40 pending free agents of one variety or another, it makes sense why some feel the front office’s comments appear a bit hollow.

There’s another explanation, too.

Lynch used the word “expect” in his description. It wasn’t a solid “will” or anything like that. And while it’s not necessarily a hidden message or anything like that, it’s merely possible both he and Shanahan are merely keeping their options open.

Mortensen’s report cited the SF 49ers could move on from Garoppolo if another better option presented itself.

But as most front offices now, better options don’t just present themselves every offseason. If they did, every NFL team would have an elite-level quarterback. That’s certainly not the case, and it’s a basic realization the Niners have.

If there’s an opportunity for San Francisco to improve under center, it will. If there isn’t, Garoppolo is all but guaranteed to stay.

4 options 49ers have with Jimmy Garoppolo in 2021. dark. Next

Nothing more to it until the SF 49ers actually execute some kind of action with Garoppolo and/or that better option.