Despite ‘huge loss,’ Garoppolo-less 49ers happy with current group

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — After losing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to a season-ending injury on Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers spent the next 24 hours evaluating both the short- and long-term effects of his loss.

On Monday afternoon, that meant doing everything from deciding whether released signal caller Baker Mayfield should be pursued on the waiver wire to assessing how Garoppolo’s loss affects their Super Bowl ambitions.

Mayfield’s release from the Carolina Panthers on Monday was the topic of the day for many 49ers watchers as it came shortly after Garoppolo’s broken left foot. In order for the Niners to acquire Mayfield, he would either have to drop to her spot on the waiver wire (currently #24) or delete waivers and be free to negotiate a deal with San Francisco.

But when asked about Mayfield by coach Kyle Shanahan Monday, he hinted that the quarterback probably wouldn’t be in the Niners’ future, at least not now.

“We’re investigating everything, but now that would surprise me,” Shanahan said. “We’ve got to talk more this afternoon and stuff. I’ve always been a fan of his but I feel really good about our players. We’ll look at everything, but I feel pretty good where we are at the moment.”

With rookie Brock Purdy at the start, the Niners quickly took on an experienced backup and settled with veteran Josh Johnson on Sunday night. Johnson has been with the Niners before, most recently in 2020, and that experience and knowledge of San Francisco’s offense made a reunion appealing.

“When we had him here for the last month of 2020 we saw a lot of him just as a player which we liked the player but more importantly we really liked the guy,” Shanahan said. “We feel lucky to bring him back here.”

As for other potential outside quarterback options, Shanahan said the team hasn’t heard of any retired veterans who might join a competitor like the 8-4 Niners.

“I’m still waiting for Joe [Montana] call,” Shanahan said jokingly. “I’m definitely ready for Steve [Young]. I think he could still lead it, so let’s do it.”

As for Garoppolo, he and the Niners are still awaiting information on the extent of his broken left foot before scheduling his downtime and creating a rehabilitation plan. Shanahan acknowledged that initial fears of Lisfranc’s (metatarsal) injury could be allayed but stressed that there was no official diagnosis yet.

“That’s why they’re still trying to work it through,” Shanahan said. “They talked about it a lot last night but it seems like they’re starting to think that’s not the case. So this is good news. But it’s not all settled for sure. Some specialists have to wrap it up so we don’t want to give you false information but they are discussing all these things.”

Meanwhile, Garoppolo met his teammates for briefings on Monday after spending Sunday night at home with his family. Shanahan said he spoke to Garoppolo on Sunday night but it was good to have him on the team so everyone could give him a hug and wish him well. Given the circumstances, Shanahan said Garoppolo is in “good spirits” and optimistic of making a full recovery from the injury.

Next, the Niners will turn the page to prepare Purdy to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. Shanahan and the 49ers were happy with how Purdy played in Sunday’s 33-17 win over the Miami Dolphins, and although their Super Bowl ambitions appeared to have taken a hit with the Garoppolo injury, Shanahan said that his Team believes that everything remains possible.

“I just think we have a really good team that worked their butt off to get to this position where we are now,” Shanahan said. “We’ve got a lot more football left and I know it’s a really big loss, starting with Trey [Lance] and then the great loss of losing Jimmy last night. It’s a big thing, but I also think our team is built for it.”

https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/35191976/despite-huge-loss-garoppolo-less-niners-focus-next-steps Despite ‘huge loss,’ Garoppolo-less 49ers happy with current group

Emma Bowman

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