The 49ers heard the rumblings that Tom Brady wanted to return to the Bay Area to play for them.
And while general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan remained silent publicly, they kept quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo informed every step along the way.
Lynch and Shanahan discussed the pros and cons of pursuing Brady, Lynch said Tuesday on "The Rich Eisen Show" on NBC Sports Network.
“But within a day or two, Kyle and I looked at each other and said, ‘You know what? We really like what we have in Jimmy,’ ” Lynch said. “We love everything he brings. And we really believe (Garoppolo is) a long-term answer.”
Brady, a 14-time Pro Bowl player and six-time Super Bowl champion, was available as a free agent, and the 49ers had to do their due diligence, Lynch said.
“When you’re talking about one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time with Tom Brady, of course, you’re going to have some internal discussion,” Lynch said. “And then you hear rumors he’d like to come home. That kind of thing. So, of course, Kyle and I have discussions."
Lynch said the club did not make any public statement because he and Kyle Shanahan had just expressed their confidence in Garoppolo while speaking with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in February. Therefore, the 49ers decided the best approach was to keep Garoppolo in the loop and leave the speculation to others.
“If you start chasing every rumor out there and start making a statement on it, you’re doing that all the time,” Lynch said. “Yes, this was a bigger one. The important thing was that we talked to Jimmy and told him exactly what I told you.”
Lynch said he believes Garoppolo can overcome the challenges of no traditional offseason program to make an improvement over 2019, when he completed 69.1 percent of his pass attempts for 3,978 yards and 27 touchdowns with 13 interceptions. The 49ers advanced to the Super Bowl, where Garoppolo and the offense struggled in the fourth quarter of a 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
“We’re more convicted than ever about who our quarterback is, in Jimmy Garoppolo,” Lynch said.
“The guy’s done nothing but win since he’s been here. A lot of people try to pick his game apart for whatever reason. All I know is the guy wins football games and he’s a tremendous teammate. Very talented young man, and I think his best football is still ahead of him.”
Lynch said Shanahan has outlined areas of Garoppolo’s game in which he expects him to improve this season. But, Lynch suggested, there is no reason for Garoppolo to be looking over his shoulder.
“We’re as committed to Jimmy as ever,” Lynch said.