Leaf believes 49ers should re-sign Jimmy G as backup QB

/ by Taylor Wirth
Presented By Toyota

Another year means another offseason filled with 49ers quarterback speculation.

Veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and former No. 3 pick Trey Lance were at the center of a highly-discussed battle leading up to the 2021 season and even to an extent before the 49ers' 2022 season after Garoppolo agreed to a restructure of his contract that allowed him to remain with the team and serve as Lance's backup. 

However, heading into the 2023 season, Lance and former seventh-round quarterback Brock Purdy are expected to battle it out after 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said he does not envision a scenario in which Garoppolo returns next season. 

Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf joined NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and Jennifer Lee Chan on "49ers Talk" from Super Bowl LVII media week, where he was asked about what San Francisco should do at the quarterback position. Leaf, contrary to popular belief, believes the 49ers should re-sign Garoppolo and once again have him serve as the backup. 

"I wouldn't change it, I wouldn't change a thing right now," Leaf said. "I'd re-sign Jimmy Garoppolo. What an incredibly capable backup if you're going to try Trey Lance out. We don't know if the elbow injury for Brock Purdy how long that's going to be for him to get healthy and get ready and ready to go. He's shown that he could be a starter in this league and win, so has Jimmy Garoppolo who has gone to a Super Bowl. 


"Now you've got two guys that are very capable if Trey Lance is not the guy. I wouldn't do a thing. The defense is amazing, they're going to have a new defensive mindset with Steve Wilks as the defensive coordinator. I absolutely would not change a thing. This is a good thing going for you guys."

Garoppolo, a free-agent-to-be, likely will find a home as a starter with another team. If he doesn't, Leaf believes the 31-year-old's winning pedigree once again could prove to be invaluable.

"He knows this offense, he runs it really well," Leaf explained. "If he can get paid a pretty good salary to be a backup and kind of help these two guys along, I don't know if that's the worst place to be right now at his age.

"He's a winner, he's just an absolute winner. He watched the greatest of all time do it as a backup in New England. He understands how to prepare, he understands what's asked of him on the football field, he doesn't try and overexert himself in situations."

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Even after Garoppolo said his goodbyes last year following the 49ers' loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, an offseason shoulder surgery and a stagnant trade market played a big role in why he returned to San Francisco. It doesn't appear likely to happen again, especially after his relationship with Shanahan and general manager John Lynch reportedly has soured after a tumultuous season. 

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