Exclusive: Ex-NFL GMs Deliver Strong Take on Garoppolo’s 49ers Future

Jimmy Garoppolo John Lynch

Getty John Lynch congratulates Jimmy Garoppolo following the victory over the Cardinals on November 17, 2019.

Randy Mueller and Mike Tannenbaum have a feel for what’s going on with the San Francisco 49ers.

As former general managers, they know what it’s like to make sure a team’s quarterback situation is in good hands. However, both former AFC East executives are aware of what’s inside the 49ers‘ QB room that has stretched to the fans wondering what’s going to happen to the tough thinking going on inside the front office, particularly GM John Lynch.

In an exclusive interview with Heavy, Mueller and Tannenbaum delivered their strong takes on what they would do with Jimmy G if they were the ones making personnel moves for S.F.

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Former Jets GM Says he Would be ‘Hard-Pressed’

To begin, the former New York Jets executive is a Trey Lance guy.

Tannenbaum — who spent 2000 to 2012 with the franchise holding roles from director of player contracts, director of pro player development, assistant general manager and then GM/senior vice president of football operations from ’06 to ’12 — lauds the intangibles of Lance.

However, that doesn’t mean he believes the North Dakota State standout and last year’s No. 3 overall draft pick is ready.

“I loved Trey Lance coming out. I think he’s going to be spectacular, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen overnight,” Tannenbaum said.

So say he’s Lynch: What would Tannenbaum do?

“If I’m San Francisco and I have a really good team, I’m really hard-pressed to move on from any quarterback right now,” Tannenbaum said.

That’s when the 53-year-old brought up different quarterback scenarios that draw to his point — one structured correctly and the other eventually helping lead to a coaching change in his opinion.

“If we go back last year, Colt McCoy played really, really well for the Cardinals and helped them get to the playoffs. But you saw the (New York) Giants absolutely deteriorate when Daniel Jones got hurt. And they had Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm — that may have costed Joe Judge his job,” Tannenbaum explained. “I’m hard pressed if I’m the 49ers if I move on from Jimmy Garoppolo.”

Mueller Shares ‘Foregone Conclusion’

Mueller, who again knows the AFC East having spent three seasons from 2005 to 2007 with the Miami Dolphins as their general manager, shared what he would do with Garoppolo.

“I don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion that the 49ers trade Jimmy Garoppolo. I think there’s enough question, for me, about Trey Lance that it makes some sense to hang on to him (Garoppolo),” Mueller said.

Both men are on board with the 49ers hanging on to the man who took the franchise to two NFC conference title games in a span of three seasons. But it’s not the first time both are more for the QB not named Lance.

In this Heavy on 49ers story from March 19, Mueller told Heavy that he would’ve placed Lance “at the bottom five” of the 2021 quarterback draft class.

“For me, he was a year away from being a year away…if that makes any sense,” Mueller said. “He just hadn’t done it, hadn’t had the exposure, hadn’t had the college throws, I felt like he was going from the dock of the bay to the auto barn in going to San Francisco. And I know they traded a lot to go up and get him, but I still see a guy that, a majority of a time, is still a project.”

Meanwhile, Tannenbaum was vocal about the 49ers keeping Garoppolo in his March 3 appearance on ESPN’s Get Up — citing his credentials and the 49ers being close to playing in another Super Bowl with him as the reasons.

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