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Shanahan Doesn't 'See Any Scenario' Where Garoppolo Returns to 49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo Win Raiders

On the same day Tom Brady announced his retirement from the NFL, one of his former backups in New England unofficially hit the open market.

NFL free agency doesn't officially begin until March 15 when the new league year begins, but you can add Jimmy Garoppolo's name to the list of available quarterbacks.

That, according to San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who was asked on Wednesday whether Garoppolo could potentially return next season, considering the uncertainty surrounding the team's quarterback situation.

"No," Shanahan said, "I don't see any scenario of that."

The 49ers go into the offseason with questions surrounding who their starting quarterback will be in 2023. That picture became even murkier when rookie Brock Purdy, who had won all of his seven starts since replacing Garoppolo in Week 14, tore the UCL in his throwing elbow in last Sunday's NFC Championship loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Garoppolo had replaced Trey Lance, who had the starting job until he broke his foot in Week 2.

Lance said on Tuesday he expects to be out of his walking boot by the end of this week and available to practice by OTAs in April, but Purdy's injury could take six months or more before he's ready to return. He's facing either reconstructive (Tommy John) surgery on his right elbow or a repair to reinforce the ligaments. The former would extend his recovery well past the six-month estimation for a simpler repair.

"The positive bit of news is that it seems to be consistent that the right approach is that one that takes about that six-month point," 49ers general manager John Lynch said on Wednesday. "Now everybody will also say you never know until you get in there. Every surgeon will tell you that on every surgery. ... They're continuing to work through that process, but we seem encouraged by the prognosis that that's kind of where it's at."

Meanwhile, Garoppolo hits free agency in March and will be looking for a starting role with his third NFL team. There are sure to be plenty of suitors, and there's one spot that just opened up in Tampa Bay.

WATCH: 49ers' 2023 Quarterback Carousel