The past week saw some buzz when San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch said that Kyle Shanahan was in a bit of mourning after the team traded for Jimmy Garoppolo. The comment has been walked back a bit, and this week at the NFL owners’ meetings, head coach Kyle Shanahan hopefully has been able to put a final bow on the subject.
Shanahan was on PFT Live Monday (video above or here), and then met with media at the annual owners’ meeting coaches’ breakfast. In chatting with the media, he acknowledged that his initial plan had been to bring in Kirk Cousins. He felt it was likely Cousins would be available this year, and a year ago, with no quarterback in place, it was not the worst plan to have.
The big thing with Garoppolo, and something both Lynch and Shanahan emphasized was how well he played and how much he proved in the span of two months. It’s obvious he proved himself given the contract the 49ers signed him to, but both Lynch and Shanahan wanted to make that perfectly clear.
In his Monday interview on PFT Live, Shanahan discussed what the plan of attack had been after acquiring Garoppolo, but before he had played a snap. They knew he was talented, but also had only seen him play in a game and a half of NFL action. The only thing Shanahan knew about Garoppolo on a personal level was from a dinner they had in the pre-draft process back in 2014.
Shanahan said there were four ways the team could have addressed their quarterback situation this offseason.
“But we knew he was talented. So we got him on our practice field. We were working with him, and we wanted to see at the end of the year, (1) are we gonna franchise him, (2) are we gonna try and sign him to a long-term deal, (3) are we gonna go after another free agent quarterback, like Kirk, or, (4) at the time, are we gonna have the first pick in the first, and is that the best way to go? Because at the time, we didn’t have a win at the time.
“So we were looking at all this stuff, and all those were very good options. And it’s very hard to be in a situation where you think you can get the best quarterback as a free agent, who was gonna be available. Where you could have the No. 1 pick in the draft. Those are a lot of options, and we didn’t want to pigeon-hole ourselves into anything.
“So we let it go, see how it would play out, and what I was shocked on was that Jimmy was able to play at a high enough level to do what he did. Because he didn’t have time with us, he didn’t know the offense.”
None of the four options is a surprise. But it’s safe to say waiting and letting it play out worked out alright. Jimmy Garoppolo still has plenty to prove this fall in what will be his first full season as a starter. But as Shanahan said, one good game can be passed off, but five straight quality performances is hard to write off. And clearly the 49ers did not!