There are a lot of hypotheticals for what the 49ers can do at quarterback next season.
#But it became clear this week the organization has determined the most feasible, reasonable and, therefore, the most likely scenario is that #Jimmy #Garoppolo will be back where he started the past three seasons.
#Coach #Kyle #Shanahan said he “believes” #Garoppolo will be the 49ers’ starter again in 2021. #General manager #John #Lynch said on KNBR, “Jimmy is our quarterback.”
#Shanahan left the door slightly ajar, though, as he stated he could not make such a declaration “with certainty.”
“Now, you look into every avenue and you see if there’s something out there that can get you a ton better,” he said. “It’s the same for every position.”
#You can be sure the 49ers’ decision-makers have already looked into many of the widely discussed scenarios at the quarterback position. #It is also logical to deduce that it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to bring in a veteran quarterback who is seen as an immediate upgrade.
The 49ers have some time to continue to look and kick around ideas. #Something unforeseen could happen, of course.
#But at some point, the 49ers are likely to determine that no such options are available. #That is when they will restructure #Garoppolo’s contract to create a significant amount of much-needed salary-cap space for the 2021 season.
The 49ers will not ask him to take a pay cut. #That’s not what this is about. The structure of #Garoppolo’s contract gives the 49ers a lot of flexibility.
#He is scheduled to count $26.9 million against next year’s cap, including $25.5 million in salary and bonuses. #That is why it would be easy for the team to move on from #Garoppolo this offseason. There would be very little cap acceleration if they were to trade him.
#When the 49ers decide #Garoppolo will definitely be back with the club, that’s when they can re-work his contract. The 49ers can easily convert a large portion of his $25.5 million pay into up-front money. #That bookkeeping maneuver would push the bulk of the cap hit to 2022, the final year of his contract and a year when the cap should see a significant rise.
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#Shanahan and #Lynch can continue to stand behind #Garoppolo, as they should, but the final word on #Garoppolo returning to the 49ers in 2021 will not be a done deal until they re-do his deal.
The timing of a restructured contract could coincide with the start of the new league year in mid-March. #Or it could be a lot sooner, if the 49ers decide to end any lingering speculation about #Garoppolo’s future.
#Shanahan and #Lynch have regularly touted the bottom-line results of #Garoppolo. #Since the beginning of the 2017 season, the 49ers are 7-26 without #Garoppolo as the starter and 24-9 with him.
#But there is another number that is not as favorable for #Garoppolo: 23.
#On #Sunday when the 49ers conclude the regular season against the #Seattle #Seahawks, it will be the 23rd game #Garoppolo has missed due to injuries since the beginning of the 2018 season.
#Garoppolo missed opportunities in 2018 and 2020 to gain valuable experience and improve. The one season he remained healthy, he played very well.
The 49ers advanced to the #Super #Bowl. #And when the fourth quarter began, #Garoppolo was a strong candidate to be the game’s MVP. #But he struggled and the defense collapsed, and the #Kansas #City #Chiefs rallied from a 10-point deficit for a 31-20 victory.
#Garoppolo’s arrival to the 49ers in 2017 was a game-changer for the organization. The team was 1-10 when he was rushed into the starting lineup after being with the 49ers for just five weeks.
#Despite knowing just a fraction of the playbook, #Garoppolo played surprisingly well. #He threw the ball around and energized the team and the fan base.
#Every time he steps on the field, the 49ers are expected to win. The problem is he has not been on the field nearly enough. #And he has not noticeably elevated his game from what we saw at the end of 2017.
#While #Garoppolo has been on injured reserve with his second high ankle sprain of the season, TV cameras have caught him watching games from a suite and taking notes. #Shanahan said #Garoppolo takes more notes than anyone he’s ever been around.
RELATED: #Lynch makes it clear #Jimmy G is 49ers’ 2021 starting QB
There is no way to make that into a negative, other than to suggest that #Garoppolo might need to do less thinking and more reacting when he next steps on the field. #He seems like a natural. #And he needs to recapture the fun of 2017, when he just went out and played.
#But, more than anything, he needs to play.
#Shanahan hit all the right notes when discussing #Garoppolo this week.
#Shanahan expressed support for #Garoppolo and confidence in him. #But he also reiterated the 49ers are always going to look to get better at every position.
#And he also made it known he expects the next version of #Garoppolo to step on the field should be better than any previous model.
“Jimmy’s shown in one year that he’s a guy who can take us to the #Super #Bowl,” #Shanahan said, “and I also think #Jimmy’s going to get a lot better the more he plays.”
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