San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan knows that a lot can happen between now and next season, which is why he isn’t committing to anything with 100 percent certainty.
Unless something drastic happens this offseason, however, Shanahan said Monday that quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo “is going to be our quarterback next year.”
“You can’t say anything with certainty,” Shanahan said, via ESPN’s Nick Wagoner. “You don’t sit here and make promises on anything. When you build a football team, it’s your job to put the best team together year in and year out … Jimmy you can win with. He’s proven that. He’s proven that he’s a starting quarterback in this league.”
‘Jimmy is going to get a lot better the more he plays’
Garoppolo has been battling a high ankle sprain throughout most of the season. The 29-year-old has played in just six games while throwing just shy of 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns with five interceptions.
The 49ers have had to turn to Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard without him, and mustered a 6-9 record headed into Week 17. Garoppolo is one of several stars dealing with significant injuries, too, along with tight end George Kittle, running back Raheem Mostert, defensive end Nick Bosa and cornerback Richard Sherman.
Garoppolo has two years left on his five-year, $137.5 million deal with San Francisco. While the team could save more than $24 million in salary-cap space by moving on from him, Shanahan isn’t too concerned with his price tag.
“People talk about Jimmy’s salary. Jimmy is like one of the middle quarterbacks in the league right now in terms of salary,” Shanahan said. “That’s just how much they cost. So, it’s not like it’s something ridiculous or anything like that, so we can work that out. And, not to mention, look at Jimmy’s record when he’s been here.”
So even though he hasn’t been on the field much, Shanahan knows how important Garoppolo is for the team’s success.
“We better have a very good answer if you’re gonna find something better than [Garoppolo], because Jimmy has shown in one year that he’s the guy who can take us to the Super Bowl,” Shanahan said. “I also think that Jimmy is going to get a lot better the more he plays.”
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