NCAA Football

Kyle Shanahan says 49ers see ‘no scenario’ for Jimmy Garoppolo returning in 2023

Kyle Shanahan says 49ers see ‘no scenario’ for Jimmy Garoppolo returning in 2023

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan said he doesn’t see “any scenario” that would involve the quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back from 49ers next season. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Shanahan said Wednesday the team was “pretty happy” with the quarterbacks Trey Lance and Brock Purdyboth are recovering from season-ending injuries.
  • “I know we have two starters on our team right now that I think we can win with,” Shanahan said.
  • Garoppolo has played with the 49ers since they were traded Patriots in 2017. He helped guide San Francisco to an appearance in Super Bowl LIV vs. Kansas City.
  • Purdy, the last pick in last year’s NFL draft, was a 7-0 starter before last Sunday’s NFC championship game loss in Philadelphia. Lance was the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.


The 49ers entered the 2022 season expecting Lance to be the team’s starter and expected to move on from Garoppolo. However, the veteran remained with the team and ended up starting 12 games for San Francisco after Lance suffered a season-ending injury in week two.

Garoppolo led the team to an 8-4 record that season and threw for 2,437 yards on a 67.2 percent completion rate and 16 touchdowns before suffering a foot injury that ultimately ended his season. Purdy, a seventh-round pick, started the rest of the 49ers’ games and didn’t lose until suffering a torn UCL in his throwing elbow against Orlov in the NFC Championship.

Garoppolo is set to become a free agent in March.

Athletic instant analysis:

Does this plan make sense?

The plan makes sense in that the 49ers closed out last training camp with Lance and Purdy as the No. 1 and No. 2 quarterbacks and ended up making the playoffs. Of course, Garoppolo was added to the mix soon after, and the 49ers will likely bring in a veteran quarterback, though probably not Garoppolo, during free agency. Still, the team has faith in its young quarterbacks, especially Purdy, whose only loss as a starter came Sunday in a game in which he was badly injured in the opening series. – Mounds

Is Lance expected to start the season?

Lance is expected to be the No. 1 quarterback in the spring because he will be fully cleared for practice, while Purdy will likely just begin his rehab. But if Purdy is cleared for training camp as expected, he’ll either be the starter or the team will split first-team reps between him and Lance. And honestly, Lance needs more reps than Purdy. Even though Lance entered the NFL a year earlier, Purdy had nearly five times as many snaps in college and more than twice as many as Lance in the NFL. – Mounds

Why are they so confident in two relatively unproven players?

Given their expansive roster-building philosophy, the 49ers may have no other realistic choice. This team has amassed and paid a significant amount of star power over the years and bigger names viz. Nick Bosso — stand in line for salary payment. The 49ers’ chosen way to maintain the wide receiver is to save money at the quarterback position. The fact that Lance and Purdy are both on rookie deals accomplishes this, even if it comes with the obvious risk of these players being relatively unproven commodities.

Acquiring any QB clearly above Purdy and/or Lance in the pecking order would almost certainly be expensive to disrupt the 49ers’ large cost structure. That’s why Lynch and Shanahan talked about filling the room with a quarterback who meets the team’s salary cap requirements. It’s hardly a top tier name.

At the end of the day, what it comes down to is this: The 49ers spent a huge amount of draft capital to acquire Lance. Typically, such an investment requires a positive return on the franchise to perpetuate high-level success. The 49ers may have signed up for a very good insurance plan with Purdy, but at some point they will have to work with whoever is actually on the 49ers roster. — Lombardy

Potential landing spots for Garoppolo?

A lot. He has a Patriots connection with Raider head coach Josh McDaniel and is very familiar with them Jet planes so is head coach Robert Saleh. Both could be looking for starting quarterbacks. Then there are the Texans, who could end up being the favorites to land Garoppolo. New head coach DeMecca Ryans knows Garoppolo well and is interested in hiring 49ers running back coordinator Bobby Slovic to manage his offense. If that happens, Slowik and Garoppolo will be able to hit the ground running when OTAs begin in the spring. Garoppolo is close to being fully cleared after suffering a foot injury in December. – Mounds

Mandatory literature

(Photo: Theoron W. Henderson/Getty Images)

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