The 49ers are the NFL's last unbeaten team, but some questions persist.

Can 8-0 San Francisco hold up against a much more difficult second half of the schedule? When will mounting injuries become too much? Is quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo good enough?

One unnamed NFC offensive consultant would answer "no" to that last question, telling NFL Media's Bucky Brooks that Garoppolo lacks the skills to be considered an elite quarterback.

"He is as talented as they come as a thrower," the unnamed consultant told Brooks. "He doesn't have elite arm strength, but he spins it well and puts the ball on the mark when he knows where to go with the ball. The big thing for him is knowing where to go with the ball. ... He misses some big-play shots because he doesn't see the entire field or he is a little late finding his second or third read in the progression. Plus, he's prone to throw one or two to the other team each game because he gets fooled or tricked by coverage.

"Overall, he's a good player in that system, but I don't know if he's a transcendent player. ... I don't know how much is him and how much is [Kyle] Shanahan doing what he does."


The consultant's -- and Brooks' -- point is not that Garoppolo is a bad QB. Instead, they wonder whether or not he's elite, and if the 49ers are better off spreading his money elsewhere.

Garoppolo signed a record-setting contract with the 49ers in 2018, putting pen to paper on a five-year deal worth up to $137.5 million. Russell Wilson and Matt Ryan since have surpassed Garoppolo's total contract value, but Garoppolo's deal has the ninth-highest fully guaranteed money.

In other words, the 49ers are paying Garoppolo to be an elite QB, even if they're not necessarily asking him to be one in their offense. As Brooks noted, the 49ers have run the ball on 54.8 percent of their offensive snaps this season, relying on the running game to establish the tone.

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Though the 49ers can get out of Garoppolo's contract this offseason, it's clear his teammates, his coach and his general manager hold him in high regard. Garoppolo is coming off the best performance of his 49ers career in Week 9, and he has a chance to build upon it in Monday night's pivotal NFC West showdown with the Seattle Seahawks. 

If he can't, the questions won't stop any time soon.