SANTA CLARA (AP) — Based on Jimmy Garoppolo’s first two starts, it appears the 49ers might have their next franchise quarterback.
But a new contract for the pending free agent is still at least three weeks away from being discussed, coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.
Shanahan said he doesn’t anticipate the team discussing a long-term agreement with Garoppolo until after the season.
For now, the franchise tag remains a possibility to keep the promising QB off the open market in the spring.
“Obviously, we’re very encouraged with how these two games have been,” Shanahan said. “We’ll see what happens here in the offseason when we get together and can assess everything. But I definitely don’t think that’s something he’s thinking about at this point and it’s definitely not something that I’m thinking about either.”
San Francisco improved to 2-0 in Garoppolo’s starts since taking over for rookie C.J. Beathard, winning consecutive games for the first time since November 2014. His 627 yards passing in his first two starts are the most by a 49ers quarterback since the merger in 1970.
On Sunday in Houston, Garoppolo completed 20 of 33 for 334 yards with a touchdown and interception in the 49ers’ 26-16 victory.
He joined Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger and Trevor Siemian as the only active quarterbacks to win their first four starts after going 2-0 last season while filling in for Tom Brady during his suspension.
Shanahan said he was impressed by the way Garoppolo adjusted to Houston’s defense that had a noticeably different approach than the Bears in his first outing.
The Texans used more blitzes to stress San Francisco’s offensive line that was missing right tackle Trent Brown, who sat with a shoulder injury.
Garoppolo was sacked twice and hit nine times in the game.
He delivered passes on target throughout the game even with defenders in his face.
Dealing with pressure in a game setting is something Shanahan hasn’t been able to simulate on the practice field during his brief time with the team. Garoppolo was acquired via trade in late October.
“We learn something every time we play with him. It’s nice to have film, two games to go off of. It will be nice to have more. But we’re still learning him, we’ll continue to learn him throughout the year,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan said Brown, who missed two of the past three games with a shoulder injury, may not play Sunday against Tennessee. It was decided over the weekend that he would sit against Houston after the injury worsened since he played the previous week in Chicago.
“I have no expectations with it. Hopefully I’ll get more information here in the next couple of days,” Shanahan said.
Rookie cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, who left Sunday’s game in the fourth quarter with a knee injury, had an MRI on Monday that showed no structural damage, which was better news than Shanahan was expecting.
“He’ll be day to day. We’ll see him when he comes in Wednesday to have an idea if he can practice, be limited or what his status will be,” Shanahan said.
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