The San Francisco 49ers have a decision to make with regard to Jimmy Garoppolo, but general manager John Lynch might be comfortable letting the cat out of the bag in certain respects.
The 49ers GM has been effusive in his praise of Garoppolo, and he continued with the praise in a recent radio interview. He made an appearance on Clark Judge’s Talk of Fame Network broadcast to talk about the Hall of Fame, and naturally Jimmy G came up.
Lynch talked about how pleased they are with the quarterback, and how special he can be. The fact that he has been so productive in spite of his recent introduction to Kyle Shanahan’s offense only further encourages Lynch.
“I knew that he was a special talent. You could see that on film — The quick release. But I also knew that it would be a challenge when you acquire someone at that position in the middle of the season, particularly with Kyle Shanahan’s offense. There’s a lot to it. There’s a lot of verbiage in it. And I thought that might be real tough to overcome. You need an offseason for it. And so what that does is just leave me even more encouraged.”
The hosts cut to the chase, and asked him if the 49ers think Garoppolo is a franchise quarterback for them. Lynch does indeed believe they have that guy in Garoppolo.
“Yeah, we really believe that. We do. I don’t want to hurt my negotiating position, but I’ve always been fairly forthright. And we really do. And we think he’s got an opportunity to be special, and what he showed us, it wasn’t perfect by any means, and there are things he wants to improve on, but he made us better. And once you get it at that position you know how he can lift an organization. He had that effect on our organization. So I think it would be foolish not to want him to be around for a long time.”
There’s nothing overly surprising in this, but it does get back to the question of what the 49ers are prepared to do this offseason when contract negotiations begin. If they think he is a franchise quarterback, they could use the franchise tag, and that statement would ring true. But if they think he is the guy for them, are they prepared to back up the Brink’s truck and make Garoppolo one of the highest paid quarterbacks in the NFL?
The sample size question remains an issue for many of us. Garoppolo has been in the NFL for four years, but has only seven starts under his belt. He has shown the ability to lift up the 49ers, and while that coincided with other young players playing well, Lynch said, “you can’t argue with his record, which has been pretty good at the end of this season. It leaves us very encouraged moving into the offseason, and we’re going to go to work on keeping him as a 49er for a long, long time.”
I picture chief negotiator Paraag Marathe listening to this interview and yelling for Lynch to stop talking. But in reality, given how well Garoppolo performed the final five games, and the praise that was already out there, I don’t imagine Lynch being over the moon for him is going to drastically change how this may or may not go.