SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) The San Francisco 49ers are ready for the start of the Jimmy Garoppolo era after announcing Tuesday that the franchise’s quarterback of the future will make his first start for the team this week.
Coach Kyle Shanahan met with Garoppolo and former starter C.J. Beathard to inform them that Garoppolo will make his first start for San Francisco (1-10) on Sunday at Chicago (3-8).
The Niners acquired Garoppolo on Oct. 31 from New England for a 2018 second-round pick to be the franchise’s long-term quarterback even though he had made only two starts in three-plus seasons for the Patriots.
After taking time to learn the new offense, Garoppolo made his San Francisco debut in Sunday’s 24-13 loss to Seattle after starter Beathard left with injuries to his hip and knee with just over a minute left.
Garoppolo completed both passes, including a 10-yard touchdown pass to Louis Murphy. Now he will get an even bigger opportunity to show what he can do for his new team.
Garoppolo has little NFL game film to go on but his performance in those two starts last year when Tom Brady was suspended was impressive and made him a highly sought after quarterback. He completed 42 of 59 passes for 496 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in wins against Arizona and Miami.
He got hurt in the second quarter of his second start and has thrown just six passes since then – including the two on Sunday – but the Niners still believe he’s the player to build around.
Garoppolo is eligible to become a free agent in the offseason but the way he plays down the stretch could help set the market for what he will be worth and facilitate a long-term deal with San Francisco. The 49ers also have the option of using the franchise tag to keep Garoppolo if they can’t reach a long-term contract.
Beathard made five starts as a rookie after taking over from Brian Hoyer, who replaced Garoppolo as Brady’s backup in New England. Beathard completed 54.9 percent of his passes, averaged 6.4 yards per attempt and had four TDs and six interceptions for a 69.2 passer rating.
Beathard was also sacked 19 times and hit many others while playing behind a patch-work line that could get starting right tackle Trent Brown back this week after he missed the most recent game with a shoulder injury.
More AP NFL: www.Hometeaminsider.com and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL