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#pounditFriday, March 1, 2024

Joe Montana shares which QB he thinks should start for 49ers

Joe Montana on the field

Jan 20, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs former player Joe Montana stands on the sidelines before the AFC Championship game between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The San Francisco 49ers have said they are confident heading into the 2023 season with Trey Lance and Brock Purdy as their quarterbacks, but Joe Montana thinks someone else deserves the starting job.

Montana was a guest on a recent episode of Michael Silver’s “Open Mike” podcast. The four-time Super Bowl champion was asked what the Niners should do in the wake of Brock Purdy’s elbow injury, which could require a six-month recovery or more. Montana said the 49ers should bring Jimmy Garoppolo back.

“I’d start Jimmy. He has won a lot of games. You can’t say the same for Trey. You don’t know that from him,” Montana said. “I don’t think it’s hard, I think you just start Jimmy. He still won a lot of games before he got hurt. He put them in that position to be able to go on that run to begin with. … You’ve gotta go with the guy who won you the games and gets the offense and go from there.”

That is almost certainly not going to happen. Garoppolo is set to become a free agent, and his expiring contract with San Francisco includes a no-franchise tag clause. Kyle Shanahan was asked last week if there is a scenario where Garoppolo would be back with the Niners next season, and the coach had a very blunt response.

Montana is right that Garoppolo has shown he can win games in San Francisco. This also is not the first time Montana has thrown his support behind the veteran.

The main reason the 49ers have ruled out bringing Garoppolo back is that some teams are expected to aggressively pursue Jimmy G. as a starting quarterback. San Francisco looked like a Super Bowl contender with Purdy under center. There is no real reason for them to pay Garoppolo big money when they have both Lance and Purdy on rookie contracts.

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