The future of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo with the San Francisco 49ers remains uncertain, and a press conference Monday with head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch did little to clear up the mystery.
Shanahan was asked directly whether Garoppolo would be a member of the 49ers on Sunday, May 2, following the conclusion of the 2021 NFL Draft the day prior.
“I can’t guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday, so I can’t guarantee who will be on our roster on Sunday,” Shanahan said.
49ers star tight end George Kittle had some fun with his coach while responding to the official SportsCenter Twitter account, which cut up video from the press conference following Shanahan’s comments.
I’ll call you on Sunday to let you know I’m alive coach
— George Kittle (@gkittle46) April 26, 2021
“I’ll call you on Sunday to let you know I’m alive, coach,” Kittle joked.
49ers Leadership Leaves Garoppolo’s Future Open-Ended
NFL insiders like Adam Schefter in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft reported that Garoppolo would remain with the team for at least the upcoming season.
That sounded like the tune Shanahan tried to strike at Monday’s press conference, but he deliberately chose not to do so with authority, keeping speculation open as to Garoppolo’s immediate future in the Bay Area.
“The biggest thing with Jimmy is his injuries. It’s been very tough for us when he’s been hurt, and it’s happened two out of these three years,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy knows that, and I’ve been very up front with him about everything. I’m excited to get him in here coming up, especially when this draft is over.”
Shanahan Called Having Garoppolo, Rookie QB Both on Roster a ‘Good Situation’
The way Shanahan spoke of Garoppolo Monday was as a transitional piece to the next phase of 49ers football rather than as a long-term solution.
The way he referenced the yet-unnamed rookie quarterback the team will unquestionably draft with the third pick was as a security blanket against Garoppolo’s tendency toward injury.
“I feel very fortunate taking a rookie quarterback that we do have a guy like Jimmy. We have a guy, who every time he’s been a starter, he’s played at a high level,” Shanahan said. “So to have that with Jimmy while adding a rookie quarterback gives us a lot of leeway heading into this.”
“I’m not going to set anything in stone, but I know that’s a situation that would be hard to get rid of,” Shanahan continued. “I mean, when you take a rookie quarterback and you have a veteran like Jimmy who we know we can win with, just to move on from that is not something that’s easy to do. That is a good situation for us, and that’s something that will be important to us this year.”
Lynch, the 49ers general manager, said that Garoppolo has behaved in a professional manner since the team made a trade with the Miami Dolphins to move from pick No. 12 to pick No. 3 in the upcoming draft, signaling their intention to select Garoppolo’s future replacement.
“Jimmy’s been a pro. He’s been completely professional, as he always has been with us,” Lynch said. “One thing we’ve always tried to do … is just be very up front and honest about what we do and why we’re doing it.”
Lynch said that the honest approach has paid off in the past, and is paying off again with Garoppolo. He added that the quarterback has been taking part in virtual team meetings and plans on being part of the upcoming workouts.
Those plans, of course, could change as early as Sunday, assuming Garoppolo and company are still alive to make them.