John Lynch made his most-definitive statement yet on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s immediate status with the 49ers.
Speaking on the “Eye Test for Two” podcast, Lynch was asked if there’s “any doubt in your mind” Garoppolo will be the team’s starting quarterback when the season begins.
“No,” Lynch answered. “Not at all. I really believe that.”
Lynch and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan have previously given Garoppolo votes of confidence and stated they expect Garoppolo to be the team’s starter in 2021.
While there has been more talk already this offseason about high-profile quarterbacks switching teams, there has been no indication there’s a feasible option for the 49ers to acquire an upgrade to replace Garoppolo.
The 49ers have compiled a 24-9 record, including the playoffs, with Garoppolo at quarterback since 2017. But Garoppolo also has missed 23 starts over the past three seasons due to injuries.
He appeared in just six games in 2020, and was unable to finish two of his starts due to separate high-ankle sprains.
“Being available is a big part of this thing,” Lynch said on the podcast. “So we ... probably as a stated goal ... we have to insulate ourselves better. We got to have better options if he’s not there.
“I’ve watched people go through this in their careers where they struggled early. It happened to me early, and then I went eight years without missing a practice. So I believe things can happen, and I believe they will for him. I really believe that Jimmy is our guy.”
Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard have been the 49ers’ reserve quarterbacks over the past three seasons. Mullens, who is in the midst of a six-month rehab after elbow surgery, is scheduled to be a restricted free agent. Beathard is scheduled for unrestricted free agency.
Currently, the 49ers have three quarterbacks under contract for the 2021 season: Garoppolo, Josh Rosen and Josh Johnson.
The 49ers appear to be in the market to add a better option at backup quarterback behind Garoppolo.
After the season, Garoppolo acknowledged after the season that his major focus will be on avoiding injuries.
“It's all about availability. I know that,” he said. “It's been a series of unfortunate events with the injuries and things like that, but one thing I'm excited about is just getting ready for this offseason.
"Getting the body back to where it needs to be, getting ready for next season. There were so many things that I just have in mind and have planned ready to go and I'm ready to attack this offseason."
Garoppolo has played only one full season as a starter in his seven-year NFL career.
In 2020, Garoppolo completed 69.1 percent of his pass attempts for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The 49ers finished 13-3, won the NFC West and lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 31-20, in Super Bowl LIV.
“When he’s healthy, he’s played at a high level. But we probably have to add someone,” Lynch said. “We probably need to improve ourselves, so if he’s not there we’re all right … we can win games.
“We are seriously looking forward to kind of rebooting our team and making a run at this thing next year. And I believe we’ve got what it takes to compete for a championship.”