Plenty of questions have arisen for the 49ers as they head into the offseason, but perhaps the most pressing decision San Francisco will face is who will start at quarterback in 2021.
For Mike Holmgren, the answer is easy. The two-time Super Bowl champion joined The Morning Roast on 95.7 The Game on Wednesday and offered his analysis on who the 49ers' would have at the helm next season, and if starter Jimmy Garoppolo would return.
"I think with the quarterback situation, obviously [the 49ers] know better than anybody," Holmgren said. "Kyle Shanahan’s a very bright guy. He knows quarterbacks and he knows if Jimmy’s the guy. I think they feel he is."
The former 49ers' offensive coordinator went on to add that he would be "very surprised" if San Francisco elected to select a quarterback in the early rounds of the 2021 draft.
"I don’t think currently there’s a quarterback controversy at all," Holmgren added. "But if you even have any doubts, any doubts at all, you draft a quarterback. You don’t take him in the first round ... you draft a quarterback in the first round, you’re telling everybody that eventually he’s going to be the starter."
The 49ers fell short of the playoffs after advancing to the Super Bowl last year, although a vast amount of injuries to key players succeeded in decimating San Francisco's season. Garoppolo was not immune -- the 29-year-old missed the final nine weeks of the season after suffering his second high ankle sprain of the year. Back up Nick Mullens saw significant time as Garoppolo's replacement, but sprained his elbow in Week 15's contest against the Dallas Cowboys, effectively ending his season.
C.J. Beathard finished the season at quarterback for the 49ers. San Francisco also signed Josh Rosen in December.
Still, if San Francisco does elect for replace Garoppolo, it remains highly unlikely that replacement will come in-house.
Holmgren added that he believes Garoppolo is still a "really fine quarterback," adding that injuries have obviously set him back.
"He’s had a little bit of bad luck with injury, but if you look at his record while he’s been the starter, it’s been good, very good," Holmgren said.
While questions regarding the 49ers' quarterback situation have been circling for quite some time, Shanahan maintained that Garoppolo will be the team's starter come 2021.
“Yes, I do believe Jimmy will be our quarterback next year,” Shanahan said to reporters in December.
“Look at Jimmy’s record when he’s been here,” he added. “Jimmy, you can win with. He’s proven that. He’s proven he’s a starting quarterback in this league. We had a couple of other guys who had opportunities this year who played at times like they have a chance to be starting quarterbacks, but they did play like backups overall.”
General manager John Lynch also backed up the claim, setting a clear message for the organization.
Since the 49ers acquired Garoppolo via trade from the New England Patriots in 2017, they are 24-9 in games he's started, including the postseason. The team is 7-26 in games without him.
This is the NFL, meaning no guarantees can be made. However, heading into the offseason, it sure seems like the 49ers believe their quarterback conundrum is under control.