After the 49ers missed out on the postseason and were unable to have quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo on the field for much of the 2020 season, rumors swirled around the team potentially looking elsewhere and moving on from him after this season.
In joining The Athletic's Tim Kawakami on "The TK Show," 49ers general manager John Lynch didn't rule out the organization selecting one of this year's deep class of QB prospects in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, but said he's not leaning that way as of now.
"We certainly could, I don't anticipate that right now, but we're so early in the process, we'll do what's best for this team," Lynch told Kawakami. "I do wanna make it clear, and I think Kyle and I have been fairly transparent since we've been here, we have a lot of belief in Jimmy Garoppolo. Where does that come from? It comes from the sample that we have, and when he's been out there, we've been better. We've been successful.
"In addition to that, his teammates understand that. I've always believed leaders not only play at a high level, but they also make everyone else around them better. He's had that quality on our team, I think he's a good fit for what we do system-wise. Are there some areas he can improve on, sure, and we'll always challenge him to do that. But we have liked working with him, and we're excited to have him back."
In four years with the 49ers, Garoppolo is 22-8 as a starter. San Francisco went 13-3 and advanced to Super Bowl LIV in Garoppolo's only full season as the starter in 2019.
But availability has been an issue for Jimmy G, as he missed all but three games in 2018 after tearing his ACL, and played in just six games this season after an ankle injury in Week 2 lingered for the remainder of the year.
Especially with the highly-touted crop of QB prospects available in this year's NFL draft, the fan base eagerly has begun scouting players like BYU's Zach Wilson and Alabama's Mac Jones.
The entire organization has publicly rallied behind Garoppolo through all of the outside criticism, but Lynch and Shanahan also are shrewd talent evaluators, and always are looking for ways to improve the roster as a whole.
It doesn't sound like Lynch has zeroed in on anyone who he would consider an upgrade for Garoppolo from outside the organization, but as he said, it is early in the talent evaluation process. The college football season hasn't even wrapped up yet.
The 49ers do have other pressing needs on the current roster, but at such a premium position in the NFL, it's understandable that Lynch would like to have the best possible option on the field leading his offense.