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Murph: Garoppolo report reminds us he’s not the guy…yet



Mandy Shanahan might want to see Jimmy Garoppolo as a 49er. You might want to see Jimmy Garoppolo as a 49er.

But as our chat with ESPN’s Adam Schefter reminded us yesterday, the 49ers’ desire to see Jimmy Garoppolo as a 49er is nothing personal. It’s strictly business.

49ers fans could be forgiven for falling in love with the idea of Garoppolo as the future: he’s young, he studied under Touchdown Tommy Brady, he has all sorts of buzz about his talent even back to his days at Eastern Illinois. Plus, he’s the best-looking 49er since Dwight Clark prowled The City in a fur coat back in the early ‘80s.

So it felt a little disconcerting to hear Schefter’s report that the 49ers could ‘flip’ Garoppolo to another team in the off-season after slapping the franchise tag on him.

“Jimmy G” landed in Santa Clara with a nickname and hope — and, in an instant, was already being fitted for a uniform in, say, Cleveland? Being flipped like a house in the nutty Bay Area real estate market?


That’s what Schefter’s report — and I’m assuming this comes from the 49ers front office — leaves as a possibility.

And as cold as it sounds, the 49ers are making the smart move, keeping their options open.

It looks like Garoppolo will get six games to show his wares, if he doesn’t play Sunday against the New York Giants. In those six games, head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch will be downloading the most important data of their 49ers careers.

They will need to make the call: Did they see enough from “Jimmy G” to hand him the keys to the franchise? If so, they sign him, use the expected top-three draft pick to maybe trade down to a QB-hungry team for a stash of picks and load up on a top-shelf offensive tackle or safety or wide receiver or interior lineman or running back or . . . well, heck, they could use all of the above.

Presto. They have their QB and a load of talent to support him.

Or, if Garoppolo flops, which nobody hopes for, they can cut ties at the end of the year, no harm, no foul.

The middle ground would be if Garoppolo plays well, but the 49ers all along coveted USC’s Sam Darnold or UCLA’s Josh Rosen or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield. They could use Garoppolo’s high stock to trade him after slapping the franchise tag on him. Then, they use the pick to get that rookie QB they need.

It’s a bounty of rich options, to be honest. All for a second-round pick. Bill Belichick might be the most valuable 49er of 2017.

But the notion of falling for “Jimmy G” as the guy? As the next in the Montana-Young franchise QB line? As fun as it sounded for the first week, we’d be wise to cool our heels. The 49ers are businessmen, and John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan are looking to get in the business of winning.