John Lynch didn't mince words on Tuesday's year-end press conference. The San Francisco 49ers have every expectation of making Jimmy Garoppolo the team's long-term franchise quarterback.
"We want Jimmy to be a Niner for a long, long time," Lynch said regarding the impending free agent QB. "That process is going to take place here. We're eager to get that done."
Garoppolo went 5-0 as the 49ers starting quarterback since being inserted into the lineup in Week 13. He helped San Francisco win back-to-back road games against the Chicago Bears and Houston Texans before topping three-straight playoff-bound opponents in the Tennessee Titans, Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams (albeit against mostly Rams backups).
In six total games, Garoppolo threw for 1,560 yards, seven touchdowns and five interceptions. He set every notable record for a 49ers quarterback in his first few starts with the club. Garoppolo also recorded his 300-yard game against the Texans with 334 total yards, only to throw for 381 yards the following week against the Titans.
San Francisco averaged 28.8 points per game with Garoppolo under center.
"This is a special locker room that we've got here," Garoppolo said on Monday. "It's a very tightknit group."
He was fairly mum beyond that, opting not to comment much on his contract status.
"I like being here," Garoppolo said when asked about whether or not he wants to sign a long-term deal in San Francisco. "We had a good thing going at the end of this year, and we'll see what happens."
Don't expect to hear much in regards to the negotiations, either. Lynch didn't go very far down the rabbit hole and added that the discussions are best to be had behind closed doors.
"One thing we really believe is that those things should take place between us and his representatives. It shouldn't transpire in the public, and that's the way we're going to treat that."
The 49ers will have until March 14 to ink Garoppolo to a new contract before he hits the open market. The team also has until March 6 to use the franchise tag on the QB. Patience will be vital for all parties involved, fans included, as it could be months before both sides come to a resolution. That's why Lynch urged everyone to trust the process once again.
"The fans have our assurance that we'd like nothing more than to make him a Niner for a long, long time," Lynch said.