Despite smoke surrounding the San Francisco 49ers that suggests they are in the quarterback market this offseason, the brass has been publicly steadfast that Jimmy Garoppolo will be back with the club this coming season. The latest declaration to that assertion comes from general manager John Lynch, who appeared on The Eye Test for Two podcast and was asked directly -- albeit with the caveat of assuming Garoppolo is healthy -- if he anticipates him being back for 2021.
Specifically, Lynch was asked: "If he is injury-free, is there any doubt in your mind that Jimmy Garoppolo is your quarterback when you line up in September?"
To that question, Lynch immediately replied, "Not at all. I really believe that."
The big reason why there is even any doubt about Garoppolo's future in the Bay Area largely surrounds the quarterback's durability. When he's healthy and starting for San Francisco, the 49ers are 24-9 (including playoffs) and were able to reach Super Bowl LIV. When he's out injured, the club is 7-19 over that same stretch. In all, Garoppolo has missed 23 games over the past three seasons and was limited to just six games in 2020 due to an ankle ailment.
"Being available is a big part of this thing," Lynch said while still speaking of Garoppolo. "So we -- probably as a stated goal -- we have to insulate ourselves better. We got to have better options if he's not there. I've watched people go through this in their careers where they struggled early. It happened to me early, and then I went eight years without missing a practice. So I believe things can happen, and I believe they will for him. I really believe that Jimmy is our guy."
It's no surprise to hear that the 49ers are bullish on a healthy Garoppolo as they've seen firsthand what that can produce. When he played and started all 16 games for the club in 2019, they went 13-3, won the NFC and were a quarter away from winning the Super Bowl. Garoppolo also completed nearly 70% of his passes that year and came up just shy of 4,000 yards passing.
If that's the type of quarterback they are getting and he finds a way to remain healthy, they'd be silly to move off him.
Of course, the greatest ability a player can have, however, is availability so if the club lacks confidence he'll be able to do that, it may be forced to look for a more durable option at some point. If there is no crystal-clear upgrade in front of them this offseason, the 49ers seem to be perfectly content giving Garoppolo another go and hope he can remain on the field.