Shanahan: 49ers have two starting quarterbacks after keeping Garoppolo

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The San Francisco 49ers believe they have two starting quarterbacks after making the decision to retain Jimmy Garoppolo on a reworked contract.

Garoppolo was expected to be released by San Francisco before Tuesday's deadline for teams to cut their rosters to 53 players ahead of the regular season.

Instead, the 49ers and Garoppolo agreed to a rengotiated one-year that, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, is worth $6.5million in base salary and $500,000 in roster bonuses. Garoppolo has incentives for playing time that could be worth up to $9m.

San Francisco had attempted to trade Garoppolo this offseason as part of the transition to Trey Lance as their starting quarterback. The 49ers traded three first-round picks to select Lance with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

But an offseason shoulder surgery contributed to the 49ers' inability to find a trade partner, and Garoppolo – who worked out away from the team during training camp and preseason – will now serve as the backup to Lance.

The 49ers' decision has led to questions about a potentially awkward dynamic between Lance and a starting quarterback predecessor who has a 31-14 record as a starter with the team.

It is a move that has also prompted observers to talk up the prospect for locker room discord if Lance struggles on a team expected to compete to go deep into the playoffs once again, after reaching Super Bowl LIV and last season's NFC Championship Game with Garoppolo as the starter.

However, speaking in a conference call on Tuesday, head coach Kyle Shanahan dismissed the notion of possible disharmony in the quarterback room and the wider locker room.

"That was the only option," Shanahan said, when asked if it was made clear Garoppolo would be the backup. "And we told that to Trey also.

"Trey and Jimmy have a great relationship. Trey actually likes having Jimmy in the building, and Trey was very grateful to how Jimmy was to him last year. And we feel very strongly from the two people that Jimmy will give that back to Trey this year.

"Trey's our starting quarterback. This doesn't change anything. I just feel it makes us a much better team and doesn't hurt our cap like it would have.

"There aren't 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL. We believe we have two of them on our roster.

"We felt strongly giving the keys to Trey. I can't wait to get him started on our team Week 1. Having Jimmy as a backup makes us feel really good because we have a starting quarterback as a backup.

"The rest of the league had a chance to get him, and I feel so fortunate that they didn't. There's no way that's bad for our team."

Pressed on why Garoppolo practised away from the team if there was a chance of him staying, Shanahan said: "I think that was because the chances, to me, it seemed slim to none, just with the possibility of that happening.

"I remember the first week of training camp, me saying to Jimmy, 'Hey, if you don't like any of these opportunities, if you don't go to the place you want, you can't get the contract you want, we would love to have you here as a backup, in a backup role, and that deal. I want you to know we feel that way, but I also think there's no way you're not going to get something as this goes throughout training camp.'

"Jimmy agreed with that. And so we waited all throughout training camp. Then, I think as he saw other situations out there, and I think, to me, it just seemed like everyone was just waiting for us to cut him so they could see how much they could get him for.

"But once the last Saturday preseason game happened, and no one got injured, then Jimmy thought this was his best situation that he liked. And that's why we were so pumped because it's obviously a better situation for the Niners."