SANTA CLARA, Calif. — For more than five years — through injuries, trade attempts, and more — the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo have always found their way back to each other.
But as San Francisco heads into another offseason filled with quarterback uncertainty, coach Kyle Shanahan made it clear Wednesday that Garoppolo and the Niners will finally part ways.
When asked if there was a scenario where he could see Garoppolo return to San Francisco in 2023, Shanahan didn’t mince words.
“No, I don’t see any script of that,” Shanahan said.
Unlike last year when Garoppolo was still under contract and the Niners tried to trade him, they don’t have that agency this time around.
Garoppolo is expected to become an unrestricted free agent in March, and the 49ers cannot use a tag to retain his rights.
Shanahan and the Niners will therefore move forward with Brock Purdy and Trey Lance as their two contracted quarterbacks, which Shanahan said Wednesday he would be content to enter next season.
Purdy’s first task is to heal the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Purdy underwent additional elbow imaging on Tuesday afternoon and while no decision has yet been made on whether he will undergo reconstruction (Tommy John surgery) or repair (InternalBrace procedure), general manager John Lynch indicated that things were going in the direction of the latter.
A repair would be good news as it would mean a shorter recovery for Purdy which could bring him back to the field around the start of training camp in late July or early August.
“The good news is that it seems consistent that the right approach is one that takes about six months,” Lynch said.
“Now everyone will also say you never know until you walk in there. Every surgeon will tell you that every time you operate. You always like to come in to see exactly… They keep working through this process, but we seem encouraged by the prognosis that this is sort of where it is.”
If Purdy opts for the augmented surgical repair of an InternalBrace to help strengthen the ligament as it heals, he could actually begin rehabilitation as early as three months after the procedure with full clearance after six months.
“That was the coolest thing I’ve heard about it,” Shanahan said. “Once the three months are up, they start rehabilitation, slowly rebuilding the arm, and after six months it’s filled out.”
Lance said on Tuesday he should be out of the walking boot for his surgically repaired right ankle by the end of this week, with the possibility of being cleared in time for organized team activities in May.
Shanahan indicated on Wednesday that this schedule is possible, although Lance may not be able to do the same in parts of the offseason program before the start of OTAs.
“It looks like it’ll be pretty close around phase 1, phase 2,” Shanahan said. “Hopefully we’ll make it easier for him in the drill work and things like that and through the OTAs, he can go.”
As for how the quarterback’s situation will go downhill, Shanahan said Wednesday he hasn’t given much thought to it yet, noting that there isn’t much to discuss at the moment because alone Lance thinks he’s available for any fieldwork before training camp.
Shanahan acknowledged that the Niners will have to add another quarterback one way or another, but it didn’t look like he and the 49ers would be looking for a big name in that role.
“I know we have two starters on our team right now that I think we can win with,” Shanahan said. “So when you have that situation, you’re not so eager to go look around.”
Among Shanahan and Lynch’s other takeaways from Wednesday’s season-ending press conference:
• Despite persistent rumors that he could leave for television or other work, Lynch said he intends to stay in his role in San Francisco.
“I plan to be here,” Lynch said. “I really do. I’m committed to doing it and I’m having a good time doing it and I’m committed to finding a way to get a little better.”
• When 34-year-old left tackle Trent Williams spoke on Tuesday, he didn’t close the door on his retirement this offseason.
But Shanahan thinks it was more the result of Williams’ fatigue at the end of a long season than a realistic chance he could actually retire.
“I didn’t read his lyrics because it’s important to him,” Shanahan said. “I know Trent loves football. I know it’s very difficult at his age, but in any situation to do what you do for that long and fail. But I would be surprised if Trent retired in a few weeks.”
• On an impending contract extension for defensive end Nick Bosa, Lynch has indicated it will play out the same way things have gone with players such as linebacker Fred Warner, receiver Deebo Samuel and tight end George Kittle,
which means a deal may not be done until later. until the start of training camp.
“I think we have a very good record,” Lynch said. “You’ve looked at the last five years… to bring our players forward. But it takes time, patience, and perseverance, and we’ll have that on our side.”