By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- From the moment that Jimmy Garoppolo went down with an injury in early November, thereby ending his 2020 season, speculation ran rampant that the 49ers would be looking to move on from their high-priced young QB. The fact that the Niners could cut or trade Garoppolo this offseason without taking a big hit on their salary cap made that possibility seem realistic.
Alas, whether it's due to an inability to find an upgrade on the open market, or whether it's due to an actual commitment to Garoppolo, or whether it's due to the 49ers throwing out a big-time bluff while trying to negotiate a trade for some other quarterback currently with some other team, it seems as though San Francisco is intent on moving forward with Jimmy G. under center.
49ers GM John Lynch was asked on the "Eye Test For Two" podcast if he has any doubt that Garoppolo will be the 49ers' quarterback come September, so long as he's healthy.
"No. Not at all," Lynch said of having doubt. "I really believe that."
As Clark Judge described the answer, Lynch "indicate[d] emphatically that he's [San Francisco's] starter for the coming season. Lynch just did that. And for good reason."
Of course, given the 49ers' current position, for Lynch to do anything other than that would be foolish. Garoppolo is signed for two more seasons, and even if the team is steadfastly committed to finding someone better this offseason, saying so will hurt the 49ers in two ways. First, it will kill any possible relationship with Garoppolo, thus ending any trust he (and his agent) may have with Lynch. And secondly, that theoretically derailed relationship would hurt the 49ers' position in any trade negotiations, as other teams would know that the Niners would need to get rid of Garoppolo no matter what.
Throwing emphatic support behind Garoppolo now is, really, Lynch's only move. But it's especially noteworthy because of the state of the current QB market.
NFL Network's Ian Rapoport said on Wednesday that despite all of the rumors and reports of QB movement this month, the league may not see much more action over the next month-plus.
"Trying to figure out the next quarterback to be traded ... really the better question is, 'Is a quarterback going to be traded any time soon?' It looked like this was spinning and spinning and going fast, and now it seems from talking to the teams involved -- the teams who still need a quarterback and some of the teams who may end up trading a quarterback -- everyone seems pretty stuck right now," Rapoport said.
So, whether it's the marquee name like Deshaun Watson, the large names like Garoppolo or Sam Darnold, or the slightly lesser names like Marcus Mariota, it seems as though nothing is imminent as prices for any available QBs remains sky high.
That situation is, of course, sure to change when the league year begins in mid-March and teams really begin building their rosters for 2021 and adapting to the projected salary cap and carefully crafting their draft strategy. Prices will go down, and teams will invariably make their moves.
And if Lynch were to reconsider his position at that point, he could easily explain away his prior commitment to Garoppolo by saying that a new, intriguing opportunity presented itself, and so a change of course was made.
For now, though, anyone in New England dreaming of a Jimmy G. reunion with Bill Belichick was just awakened by a big bucket of cold water.
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