SANTA CLARA — On Monday, head coach Kyle Shanahan made the biggest news since the 49ers traded for Jimmy Garoppolo.
Shanahan announced that he expects the 49ers will give Garoppolo the franchise tag during the offseason.
“I think that’s logical,” Shanahan said. “Just being totally honest. When you’re making a long-term decision on someone for your organization to pay him the amount of money that you do for quarterbacks, that’s a big deal. (Garoppolo) hasn’t played in a lot of football games. He has come in here in a situation where he hasn’t had a fair opportunity to prepare the right way.
“I think it would be very hard for Jimmy to go in there and show over whatever time span that is (the rest of the season) that he could (be the franchise quarterback). Also for us, that’s a lot of pressure to get a guy ready and commit long term. So, I think knowing how the franchise tag works is what made it kind of a no-brainer to make that trade.
“Like, hey, you have this opportunity to get such a good player, what’s the negative? You don’t want to lose him in six weeks or eight weeks. Well, if you have the franchise tag, then you don’t have to ever worry about losing him. You can do things the right way, really find out what the guy is. I think we understand that and I think Jimmy understands that, also.”
An NFL team can give the franchise tag to one of its players — usually one of its best players — who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. Then, that team controls the player’s rights for a year. The player cannot sign a contract with another team during that period.
The franchise tag is expensive. It’s a one-year deal worth the average of the top-five highest-paid players at a position. This past offseason, teams had to spend $23.8 million to give the franchise tag to a quarterback. That price will increase next offseason.
In addition to announcing the 49ers’ plan to give Garoppolo the franchise tag, Shanahan made another announcement. He said he will decide by Wednesday which quarterback will start Sunday against the Chicago Bears — Garoppolo or rookie C.J. Beathard.
Beathard started the 49ers’ past five games, but left Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks late in the fourth quarter after defensive end Michael Bennett hit him in the left knee. Beathard had an MRI on Monday.
“It was good news,” Shanahan said. “There was nothing serious or long term, but he’s pretty sore today. He’s got a knee contusion and a hip strain. Pretty banged up. We’ll look more into it tomorrow, get a little more information on when he’ll be ready to practice.”
Beathard also slammed his head against the ground when he got hit. And he injured the thumb on his throwing hand during the previous game against the New York Giants. He may not be healthy enough to play this Sunday.
Beathard replaced Brian Hoyer as the 49ers’ starting quarterback Week 6. Since then, Beathard has completed 54.9 percent of his passes, thrown four touchdowns and six interceptions, averaged 6.4 yards per pass attempt and posted a mediocre quarterback rating of 69.2.