The 49ers enter the offseason with a question mark at the quarterback position, coming off a season when they used three different starting quarterbacks but still reached the NFC championship game. Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo and Brock Purdy all started games for San Francisco, combining to lead the team to a 13-4 regular-season record.

With Garoppolo a free agent, Lance and Purdy seem like the two most likely options to start next season. That idea was bolstered recently when 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said he doesn’t envision a scenario where Garoppolo would return to the team next season. 

However, 49ers legend Joe Montana thinks the team should retain the veteran.

“I start Jimmy,” Montana told journalist Michael Silver on the Open Mike podcast. “He has won a lot of game. I can’t say the same for Trey. You don’t know that with him.”

Garoppolo went 7-3 as a starter and played in the most games of the three. Additionally, he has the most experience, as he previously led San Francisco to two NFC championship games and a Super Bowl appearance.

“He still won a lot of games before he got hurt,” Montana said of Garoppolo. “He put them in that position to be able to go on that run to begin with.”

However, Garoppolo is set to hit free agency, and the 49ers can’t use the franchise tag on him because of a contract clause preventing the move. San Francisco has both Lance and Purdy under contract for the 2023 season, but both are recovering from injuries. Lance injured his foot in September and missed most of the season, while Purdy suffered an elbow injury in the NFC title game.