Jimmy Garoppolo: How many games does 49ers QB start in 2021?

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Shanna Lockwood-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers have all but guaranteed Jimmy Garoppolo will start in 2021, but it’s an open-ended question of exactly how many starts he’ll see.

For now, until proven otherwise, the San Francisco 49ers have their two top quarterbacks in the following order on the depth chart heading into 2021:

  1. Jimmy Garoppolo
  2. Trey Lance

The Niners selected Lance at No. 3 overall in this year’s NFL Draft to eventually be Garoppolo’s heir apparent. But that’s not going to happen right away. At least not in the light of Lance’s one full year as a collegiate starter and a mere 318 passes attempted at that level.

And for those wondering if Lance will somehow beat out Jimmy G for the starting job right away, head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters otherwise:

"I think Jimmy had his best spring since we’ve had him. We had the spring the first year with him, the second year he had the ACL, so we didn’t get that. And then last year it was COVID. So this is really his second one not being on an ACL. I thought Jimmy came in in great shape, really locked in, a good place physically and mentally. And I thought he had as good of OTAs as he’s had."

Barring injury or a complete meltdown in training camp, Garoppolo will start to begin the year.

But it’s still an unknown whether or not he’ll complete all 17 scheduled starts in 2021. Is it possible Lance closes the gap and begins to match Jimmy G’s ability to win games sooner than expected? Could there be a situation, unknown right now, that presents itself and leads to Garoppolo starting fewer than 17 games this season?

Certainly, something like that could happen.

As far as predicting how many games Garoppolo sees, however, let’s take a look at some factors.