Jimmy Garoppolo has been at the epicenter of the 49ers' offseason talk to this point.
Despite general manager John Lynch saying that he had no doubt Garoppolo would be the starter next season if healthy, the 49ers will continue to be mentioned as a player on the quarterback carousel until they restructure Garoppolo's deal or the merry-go-round stops moving.
While Garoppolo has missed 23 games since 2018 with a torn ACL and multiple high ankle sprains, 49ers legend Joe Montana believes that the durability concerns won't be enough for the Niners to move on this offseason and that they will give Garoppolo one last chance to prove he can stay healthy and be a franchise quarterback.
"My guess is that because of his age they will keep him," Montana said Wednesday on ESPN's "First Take." "They'll give him another chance at it. That's just my feeling, I stay away from down there and stay away from football at this point. But I think when he's in there they have pretty good success and are winning and I think they just try to keep him healthy and see what they can get from there and if it continues along this way I imagine they will try to make a change because it's tough to get any kind of consistency offensively with moving quarterbacks in and out."
Ever since Garoppolo's potential game-winning pass in Super Bowl LIV sailed over the head of Emmanuel Sanders, the 49ers' quarterback situation has gone under the microscope.
Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were open about doing their homework on Tom Brady last offseason, but the 49ers eventually elected to pass on the 43-year-old, believing Garoppolo still was the better option for them. Brady, of course, went on to play at a near-elite level, grading out as Pro Football Focus' No. 2 quarterback in 2020, while leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a Super Bowl win over the Kansas City Chiefs, using a perfected version of the game plan the 49ers used the year prior.
This offseason, the 49ers have been mentioned as possible suitors for a number of quarterbacks. They reportedly dipped their toe in the Matthew Stafford trade waters, but the Los Angeles Rams beat them to the punch, going all-in to maximize their own title window. The Houston Texans have not yet entertained offers for Deshaun Watson, and the 49ers were rightfully not interested in acquiring Carson Wentz.
Sam Darnold remains a potential trade option should the New York Jets elect to move him, and the 49ers should survey their options in the 2021 NFL Draft. While Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson and Justin Fields likely won't be available unless the 49ers trade up, San Francisco could look to Alabama's Mac Jones if they want to extend and shift their championship window by building around a quarterback on a rookie contract.
Barring an unforeseen development, Garoppolo will be the 49ers' starting quarterback in 2021. The 49ers must bolster the depth behind Garoppolo in order to have insurance should he go down again.
But if Garoppolo has more injury trouble or is inconsistent next season, that will surely be it for his time in Santa Clara.