With Jimmy Garoppolo set to be sidelined for an extended period of time, questions continue to swirl about the quarterback’s future with the San Francisco 49ers. Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer believes the Niners will conduct due dilligence on potentially bringing in a veteran quarterback or selecting a top prospect in the 2021 NFL Draft. Breer mentioned the Vikings’ Kirk Cousins and Falcons’ Matt Ryan as potential fits for the Niners if either quarterback becomes available this offseason.
“And I think they’d be fine going forward with him [Garoppolo] in 2021,” Breer explained. “But are their eyes going to be open to a potential upgrade? I think they will be. Maybe they’ll wind up with a high pick, and a shot at someone like North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, regarded by scouts as a strong fit for the Shanahan offense. Maybe a Shanahan-connected QB like Matt Ryan or Kirk Cousins will be available. Or maybe their best option will be to stick with Garoppolo.”
Cousins just signed a two-year, $66 million contract extension over the offseason and is set to make a base salary of $21 million next season, per Spotrac. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan showed an interest in Cousins in the past, but the quarterback has struggled to find consistency this season throwing for 1,635 yards, 12 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in seven games in 2020.
As for Ryan, his future in Atlanta depends on the plan of the new head coach and general manager once they have been hired. Shanahan was the Falcons offensive coordinator when Ryan thrived on the team’s run to the Super Bowl during the 2016 season. Ryan has a $23 million salary next season and is signed through 2023 but has a potential out after 2021.
Shanahan on Garoppolo’s Future: ‘I’ve Got a Good Idea With Jimmy & What Jimmy Is Capable of Doing’
After the injury news, Shanahan continued to express confidence in Garoppolo’s ability. The question is whether that confidence will be enough for Garoppolo to be the team’s starter in 2021.
“I’ve got a good idea with Jimmy and what Jimmy is capable of doing, and that’s why he’s been here,” Shanahan said, per Pro Football Talk. “People get better when they play more and that’s what I feel for Jimmy on. One, Jimmy gives us the best chance to win. He’s proven that, and it’s hard that he’s not going to be here for, to me, probably about at least six weeks, because it’s harder to win without him. Regardless of that, I want Jimmy playing as much as possible because I know when he does, he’ll only get better from the experiences of it. I think that’d be the most frustrating thing about it after having the best chance to win.”
Garoppolo Is Set to Make $25.5 Million in Non-Guaranteed Money in 2021
One of the reasons there is so much speculation about Garoppolo’s future is the way his contract is structured. The Niners will have already paid out the guaranteed money to Garoppolo after this season giving the franchise flexibility to move on from the quarterback this offseason if they so choose.
We know that the 49ers considered signing Tom Brady last offseason but opted to stick with Garoppolo. Now, the question is whether the 49ers will once again pass on a new quarterback in the draft, through free agency or via trade.
“Garoppolo is on the books for a non-guaranteed $25.5 million in 2021 and $25.6 million in 2022, meaning San Francisco can easily bail from his deal in the spring,” Breer detailed.
READ NEXT: 49ers Give Update on Trade Talks