San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch gave their season-ending press conference on Tuesday, two days after the team’s disappointing loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game.
In what isn’t anyhwere near a surprise, the future of starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo came into question. Lynch himself touched on the veteran and what might be his final several weeks as a member of the 49ers.
“No one wants to face the reality that this thing may be ending, Lynch told reporters.
The general manager also took time to praise Garoppolo for how he’s handled the entire situation after the San Francisco 49ers traded up for Trey Lance in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
“I think Jimmy Garoppolo deserves a ton of credit. The way he’s handled this situation. The way he competed and the way he welcomed Trey. It speaks volumes as to who he is,” Lynch said.
The writing has pretty much been on the wall since the aforementioned Lance trade. San Francisco exhausted three first-round picks and change to draft the former North Dakota State standout. While he was not ready as a rookie, all signs are pointing to Lance taking over next season. Lynch also touched on the youngster in his presser.
“He is who we thought he was, and probably even stronger,” the GM said.
Lance, 21, played sparingly as a rookie. He started two games for a hobbled Garoppolo, tallying a total of 771 yards to go with six total touchdowns and two interceptions.
San Francisco 49ers seemingly prepared to trade Jimmy Garoppolo
Lynch noted that the 49ers’ only commitment to Garoppolo right now is “communicating in a straightforward manner” while Shanahan said that they’ve told the quarterback what was happening when they knew on their end. That included potentially benching Garoppolo after a 3-5 start before the Super Bowl quarterback helped turn things around in San Francisco.
As for Garoppolo, he also spoke to the media on Tuesday. The quarterback seemed aware of his surroundings, knowing full well that this could be the end of his 49ers career.
“I was talking to John (Lynch) yesterday about finding the right destination. I just want to go to a place where they want to win,” Garoppolo told reporters.
While the quarterback did say he’ll “never close every door completely,” this seems to be a clear indication that Garoppolo knows he is headed elsewhere in 2022.
Financially, a trade makes the most sense for San Francisco here soon. Garoppolo is slated to count $26.91 million against the cap in 2022. The cash-strapped 49ers can save $24.5 million be trading him.
Fresh off an ugly performance in the NFC Championship Game, some might think there’s going to be a watered-down market for Garoppolo’s services on the trade block. But that’s not going to be the case. Postseason included, he’s led the 49ers to a 35-17 record as a starter and two NFC Championship Game appearances over the past three seasons.
According to oddsmakers, the Washington Football Team and Pittsburgh Steelers are favored to land him. Meanwhile, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have become a realistic option after Tom Brady made his retirement official earlier on Tuesday.
Based on what Garoppolo said, it seems clear that the 49ers will work with him to find the best possible destination for the Super Bowl quarterback. It will be similar to when San Francisco’s previous regime traded Alex Smith following the 2012 season and gave the keys to the kingdom to another young quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.