Steve Young knows a little bit about quarterback play.
The Hall of Famer spoke out about the future of the 49ers on ESPN’s "Monday Night Countdown," and sees imminent change ahead. Young believes that time is running out for Jimmy Garoppolo in Santa Clara, and not because of the injuries that have kept him off the field.
The three-time Super Bowl Champion believes Garoppolo’s skill set limits what Kyle Shanahan is able to call on offense. Young sees the head coach as one of the best at what he does, and while the team is missing several key players due to injuries, he believes Shanahan’s creativity has been stifled because of who has been under center.
“This looks like a disastrous year,” Young said. “It creates a focus on the one question that you had about the 49ers coming into this year — can we get to a place where Kyle Shanahan, this innovative offensive coordinator, one of the best head coaches in the league, can find a quarterback that he can trust and just be expansive with, rather than protect.
“I think that’s been the issue with Jimmy, and I think that 25 million dollars and a shrinking salary cap, with this injury, I just don’t know how Jimmy ends up being the quarterback for the 49ers next year.”
Garoppolo does not have any guaranteed money remaining on his five-year $137.5 million contract that he signed in 2018. This leads Young to believe that moving on from the franchise quarterback will be less of an issue for the 49ers' front office.
Through four seasons with the 49ers, Garoppolo has started 33 games with a record of 24-9 and brought his team within minutes of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Young still believes the decision on Garoppolo’s future will be made on more than injuries and history.
“It’s about the relationship between Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy,” Young said. “That’s what matters. They’ve created a system that Jimmy can be successful in. It’s not the system that Kyle wants to run.
“Kyle is going to be a coach there for 10 years. He will be one of the long term coaches when he’s finally done. Does he want Jimmy, to concoct an offense for or him, or does he want somebody who can actually be expansive and 'do all the things that are in my brain rattling around,’ That’s what Kyle wants to do.”
Time will tell if Shanahan and John Lynch walk away from Garoppolo after the 2020 season ends. Young brings up valid points, while making 49ers fans dream about what life would be like if the 49ers' head coach had a quarterback like the Hall of Famer under center.