Kyle Shanahan's approach to divulging future San Francisco 49ers quarterback plans could previously be characterized as obtuse.
On Monday, it took a turn better described as morbid.
With the 49ers holding the No. 3 pick in Thursday's draft and Jimmy Garoppolo's role with the franchise murky at best, Shanahan faced questioning on Thursday about the fate of San Francisco's veteran signal-caller. Here's what he had to say when asked if Garoppolo would still be on the roster at the conclusion of this weekend's draft:
"I can't guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday, so I can't guarantee who will be on our roster on Sunday," Shanahan said.
"So that goes for all of us."
The events of the last couple of years have taken a mental toll on most of us. It appears that Shanahan is no exception, taking an exceptionally dark approach to avoid answering a question about football.
George Kittle took notice.
It's no secret that the 49ers intend to draft a quarterback on Thursday. San Francisco didn't deal a pair of future first-round picks to move up from the No. 12 slot to not take a quarterback. But which quarterback it selects after Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson are presumably gone stands as the biggest mystery of the draft.
Multiple reports have tied Mac Jones to the 49ers. Others believe the Jones reports are part of an elaborate smokescreen to conceal San Francisco's intended selection of Trey Lance or Justin Fields (or somebody else). Meanwhile others wonder why San Francisco would even bother with a smokescreen at all since it's in full control of its selection beyond the the presumed top two quarterbacks.
And who really knows outside of San Francisco? Smokescreens are the name of the NFL game regardless of how effective or necessary they are.
Shanahan kept up with the guessing game on Monday, telling reporters that San Francisco had a name in mind when it traded up, but that the selection remains wide open at this point.
“After going through this process, I feel good about five guys at three,” Shanahan said.
Again, that feels unnecessarily obtuse — and equally hard to believe. Are we really supposed to buy that the 49ers invested so much in the No. 3 pick without a firm, clear plan on how to use it?
Amid all the uncertainty remains a forgone conclusion. Garoppolo's time as the 49ers starter has an expiration date — even if Shanahan won't even commit to that. It's just a matter of when rather than if.
Here's hoping his time in San Francisco reaches its conclusion via NFL transaction — as opposed to the alternative Shanahan floated on Monday.