Though the offseason is barely a week old, fans of the San Francisco 49ers already have one big question that rises above all others: who will start at quarterback in 2023? Will it be Trey Lance, the 22-year-old quarterback John Lynch traded three first-round picks and a third-round pick to acquire in the 2021 NFL draft? Or will the team go with Brock Purdy, Mr. Irrelevant from the 2022 NFL draft who turned in an incredible effort as the team’s QB3 down the stretch?
How about Jimmy Garoppolo? While that idea may seem crazy considering the long-time Niners QB is an unrestricted free agent and can’t be franchise tagged per the considerations of his 2022 reworked contract, it’s the preferred plan of none other than Joe Montana, who mentioned the idea to Mike Silver on his Open Mike podcast.
“I start Jimmy,” Montana said. “He has won a lot of games. I can’t say the same for Trey. You don’t know that from him. I don’t think it’s hard – I think you just start Jimmy.”
When Silver question his call, citing Garoppolo’s contract situation, the Hall of Fame QB doubled down on his take
“He still won a lot of games before he got hurt, right?” Montana said of Garoppolo. “And so he put [Purdy] in that position to be able to go on that run, to begin with. So, you handed a guy a team, sort of like somebody else I know got handed a good team. You’ve got to go with the guy who’s been winning the games and gets the offense and go from there.”
Could the 49ers actually bring back Garoppolo in 2023? It all depends on the market; if former 49ers assistants like DeMeco Ryans and Robert Salah opt to go elsewhere at quarterback, then who knows, maybe the best offer really could come from Lynch? Still, based on Kyle Shanahan’s comments in his exit interview, it doesn’t sound like he expects the veteran pro back for Year 7 in his system.
Kyle Shanahan Shut the Door on a Jimmy Garoppolo Reunion
Speaking with reporters alongside John Lynch after the Philadelphia Eagles game, Shanahan was asked if he could see a scenario where Garoppolo returns in 2023. His response was pretty cut and dry.
“No, I don’t see any scenario of that,” Shanahan said.
While nothing said in an exit interview should be taken as possible, as things can change in a hurry at the NFL level, Shanahan sounds pretty confident that his relationship with Garoppolo is definitely done this time around.
A San Francisco 49ers Legend Isn’t Sold on Jimmy G Either
Speaking in his own interview with Mike Silver, 49ers legend Joe Thomas was asked how he feels about Garoppolo and let it be known that he understands why Shanahan and company may be looking to move on.
“Jimmy Garoppolo is just an injury-prone quarterback,” Thomas said via 49ers Webzone. “That’s why they wanted to move on from him in the first place.”
Considering Garoppolo has only played 16 regular season games for the 49ers once over his six-year run with the team, Thomas’ comments make a lot of sense. After losing four quarterbacks in 2022 alone, the Niners probably aren’t looking to invest big into a quarterback who won’t be available come playoff time, even on another one-year deal.