HC Kyle Shanahan: Keeping Jimmy Garoppolo as backup a ‘win-win’ for 49ers

Few people believed San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan when he told reporters last week that “any scenario is possible” regarding the future of veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Shanahan and company replaced Garoppolo with 2021 rookie Trey Lance as the starter this spring, and most assumed the 49ers would release the 30-year-old this summer if no team traded for his services before his $24.2 million base salary for 2022 became guaranteed. Instead, reports surfaced Monday confirming that Garoppolo agreed to a pay cut to stay with the 49ers as their backup option behind Lance. 

Garoppolo underwent shoulder surgery in March and hadn’t been participating in meetings or full team practices before Monday’s development, largely so he could remain as healthy as possible for a potential trade. Per David Bonilla of 49ers WebZone, Shanahan was understandably asked Tuesday why the club didn’t do better to have Garoppolo fully ready to serve as QB2 for the Week 1 game at the Chicago Bears on Sept. 11. 

“I think that was because the chances, to me, it seemed slim to none, just with the possibility of that happening,” Shanahan explained. “… I remember the first week of training camp, me saying to Jimmy, ‘Hey, if you don’t like any of these opportunities, if you don’t go to the place you want, you can’t get the contract you want, we would love to have you here as a backup, in a backup role, and that deal. I want you to know we feel that way, but I also think there’s no way you’re not going to get something as this goes throughout training camp.’

“Jimmy agreed with that. And so we waited all throughout training camp. Then, I think as he saw other situations out there, and I think, to me, it just seemed like everyone was just waiting for us to cut him so they could see how much they could get him for. But once the last Saturday preseason game happened, and no one got injured, then Jimmy thought this was his best situation that he liked. And that’s why we were so pumped because it’s obviously a better situation for the Niners.” 

As of Monday afternoon, there was no sign the Seattle Seahawks or Cleveland Browns, two teams previously linked with Garoppolo, were going to trade for the signal-caller. 

“We thought it was a win-win for both sides,” Shanahan added when pointing out he and general manager John Lynch were pleasantly surprised to learn they’ll have both Garoppolo and Lance on the active roster heading into September. 

Shanahan insisted Lance is cemented as his QB1. Garoppolo is second on the depth chart, followed by rookie and “Mr. Irrelevant” Brock Purdy.

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