Both coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have publicly expressed their desire for Jimmy Garoppolo to return as the 49ers' quarterback in 2021, but "most league insiders believe" the organization will move on from the signal-caller if a better option becomes available, ESPN's Chris Mortenson reported Sunday morning.
Garoppolo's inability to stay on the field in 2020 and miscues at critical moments in last year's Super Bowl LIV have led many to lobby for the 49ers to bring in a veteran QB this offseason, or use what could end up being a top-10 first-round draft pick on one of the highly-touted signal-callers expected to be available in April's draft.
Obviously the NFL is a business and teams like the 49ers always are looking to upgrade and have the best talent available at each position.
Shanahan and Lynch have been peppered with questions throughout the season about Garoppolo, and both have doubled down on their support as of late.
“Yes, I do believe Jimmy will be our quarterback next year,” Shanahan said in late December.
"Jimmy is our quarterback," Lynch told KNBR's "Tolbert, Krueger and Brooks" on Wednesday about who his Week 1 starter for 2021 will be. "We're really excited about that. He's a heck of a scout-team quarterback these days. Unfortunately, we can't get him in the game, but he's looking good on the scout team. We're excited to be working with him moving forward."
Garoppolo has played in just six games this season after suffering an ankle injury early in the season and then suffering a second high ankle sprain in Week 8, forcing the 49ers to place him on injured reserve in early November.
The 28-year-old also missed most of the 2018 season after tearing his ACL just a few weeks into the season, but his lone full season as a starting QB ended in a Super Bowl LIV appearance.
Garoppolo is scheduled to count for $26.9 million against the 49ers' salary cap next season, but San Francisco likely will restructure his contract this offseason to open up some space.
Lynch and Shanahan are shrewd talent evaluators who likely have been evaluating potential options for upgrading every position along the roster going into next season. If they feel a certain free agent or draft prospect is an immediate upgrade over Garoppolo, we could see the organization pull the trigger and move on.
But similar to the conversation around Tom Brady's free agency last spring, the 49ers might simply decide that Garoppolo, now with another year in Shanahan's system under his belt, is indeed the best option to be QB1 going into next season.
The offseason starts on Monday for the 49ers, with a lot of major decisions facing the front office, including the future of the quarterback position.