The 49ers at least looked at Tom Brady last offseason. It was speculated that they might have a wandering eye again this offseason.
But general manager John Lynch was as definitive as he has been about the team’s starting quarterback for 2021.
Lynch joined Clark Judge and Ira Kaufman on The Eye Test for Two podcast and said he has no doubt that Jimmy Garoppolo will return as the team’s starter.
It comes with a caveat: “If Garoppolo remains injury free,” something he has failed to do in two of the last three seasons.
Lynch was asked, “If you are injury free, do you have any doubt that Jimmy Garoppolo is your quarterback when you line up in September?”
Lynch did not hesitate: “No. Not at all. I really do. “
The 49ers are 24-9, including the postseason, in games Garoppolo has started since he arrived in a trade with the Patriots. They are 7-19 in the same period when he doesn’t.
Garoppolo, however, has missed 23 games in the last three seasons due to injuries. He played only six in 2020 due to a sprained ankle.
But Lynch sounds like the 49ers want to improve the backup quarterback position rather than find a starting quarterback to compete with or replace Garoppolo.
“Being available is a big part of this,” Lynch acknowledged. “So, probably as a stated objective, we have to isolate ourselves better. We have to have better options if he is not there.
“I’ve seen people go through this in their careers, where they struggled early on. It happened to me early, and then I was eight years without missing a practice. So I think things can happen, and I think they will happen because of him. I really think Jimmy is our man. “
CJ Beathard is an unrestricted free agent and Nick Mullens is a restricted free agent.
However, having a healthy Garoppolo is key if the 49ers are truly committed to another year with him. The only season Garoppolo played all 16 games, in 2019, the 49ers were 13-3 and made a Super Bowl appearance, though their fourth-quarter performance against the Chiefs cost the team a title.
“When he’s healthy, he plays at a high level,” Lynch said. “But we probably have to add someone. We probably need to improve ourselves, so if he’s not there, we’re fine; we can win games.
“We are looking forward to restarting our team and having a race in this next year. And I think we have what it takes to compete for a championship. “