Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch knew certain 49ers players needed to be made aware that Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to the 49ers was imminent.
A few days after Garoppolo received a pay cut to stay with the 49ers as a backup to Trey Lance, Lynch revealed that he and Shanahan took a group of 15 leaders from the roster and briefed them on what was about to happen.
A little over a week later, Shanahan went deeper into the conversation with those players, including how Lance handled the news.
“Trey was good,” Shanahan told Greg Papa on the final episode of “49ers Gameplan,” which debuted Friday night on NBC Sports Bay Area. “I warned him a few days before, like a week before. I told him it’s an outside opportunity, but I want him to know if Jimmy doesn’t get good opportunities that he thinks would be better for him .” I wish Trey knew I told Jimmy I’d love to have him here as a backup if we could fit it into our salary cap and if it was best for him we’d welcome him back. asked Trey how he was and Trey was great [with it]. I think he handled it the right way and there was no hesitation on him. but I still thought it was a great opportunity.”
The 49ers had hoped to trade Garoppolo during the off-season, but shoulder surgery shortly after the end of the 2021 season put those plans on hold. Once healthy, the thought was that a team would call during training camp or preseason if their in-house quarterback got injured.
No major injuries were sustained, meaning no trade occurred leading up to the start of the 2022 NFL season.
“But after that [final preseason game]”No one got hurt and Jimmy looked at his options and really liked it here, for what we offered,” Shanahan said to Dad. “And Trey was good at that. Most importantly, I wasn’t going to talk to the whole team unless it definitely happened. And when it definitely happened, I had to tell people first that it affected the most. And that was Trey and Nate [Sudfeld]. And they understood. they also had a signal that it was coming, but I wanted to make sure I told some of our team before it actually came out and I could explain what happened.
“That’s not something I really wanted to do for 90 guys. That’s how many we had at the time. So I tried to pull 15 guys into my office and just talk. At first they thought, ‘How is that possible?’ They say, “Who are you cutting? We can’t do that.” And then I told them the circumstance and why he was coming back and how it worked and how Jimmy thought it was the best situation for him to come back into the backup role and how I believe it worked for us and I wanted to see what you guys thought When I told them what the situation and role was they were very excited They thought that was not a possibility They love Jimmy They love Trey And they leave with as many good players as we can have .”
After leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2019 and leading them to the NFC Championship Game last season, Garoppolo now stands on the sidelines watching as Lance takes over as starter.
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It’s one of the weirder dynamics in recent NFL history, with a successful quarterback taking a pay cut and back seat to an unproven replacement.
But Shanahan and Lynch believe they have the right players in the locker room to see the 49ers through this unusual situation.
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