The San Francisco 49ers have tried to downplay any interest in moving on from Jimmy Garoppolo for other quarterback options, but it is hard to take these claims at face value. Garoppolo has played double-digit games in only one of his four seasons with the Niners, and it would be irresponsible for the team not to look at other potential starting quarterbacks.
Pro Football Focus’ Michael Renner calls the 49ers the team “most likely to sell the farm” to move up in the draft for a quarterback. Renner has the Niners making a deal with the Falcons to move up from No. 12 to No. 4 to select Fields in his latest mock draft.
“There are a few reasons why I strongly believe the 49ers will be the team most likely to sell the farm for one of these quarterbacks,” Renner noted. “The first is that quarterback classes like this don’t come around every year. The 49ers are too good to truly bottom-out, and they end up in a position to take one here.”
It is worth noting that Renner has the Jets selecting BYU quarterback Zack Wilson over Fields with the No. 2 pick. The Jets could also be a potential trade partner for the No. 2 selection if the team opts to stick with Sam Darnold and trade down in the draft to improve the rest of their roster.
The 49ers ‘Expect’ Garoppolo to be the Team’s Starting QB in 2021
The 49ers doubled-down on their backing of Garoppolo during Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch’s end-of-the-season press conference. Lynch once again noted the team “expect[s]” Garoppolo to be the starting quarterback in 2021.
“Kyle and I have both spoken and spoken fairly directly, as to the fact we expect Jimmy to be our quarterback,” Lynch said, per NBC Sports Bay Area.
San Francisco has still left the door cracked for exploring other options this offseason. Shanahan noted in December that the team plans to have Garoppolo back as the starter but painted a hypothetical picture of what it would take to make a change this offseason.
“You look into every avenue and you see if there’s something out there that can get you a ton better,” Shanahan explained at the time, per ESPN. “That’s the same answer for every position, but look at Jimmy, look what he’s done, look where he’s at financially. We better have a very good answer if you’re gonna find something better than that because Jimmy has shown in one year that he’s the guy who can take us to the Super Bowl, and I also think that Jimmy is going to get a lot better the more he plays.”
San Francisco Could Draft a Quarterback Early & Create a Competition for the Starting Spot
One option for the 49ers is to select a quarterback in the draft and allow him to compete with Garoppolo to be the starter next season. If the Niners opt to select a quarterback in the first round, it may make more sense to move on from Garoppolo given his high salary. To be clear, trading up from No. 12 to be in a position to select Fields is likely going to cost the Niners a lot including future picks.
“Also, head coach Kyle Shanahan has never had himself a true franchise guy since taking over for the 49ers, and we saw what he did with one in Atlanta,” Renner added. “The final reason is that all of the top guys are mobile — an element we’ve seen take run games around the league to the next level. Shanahan created magic with RG3 as a rookie, and I believe he could do something similar with Fields.”