SANTA CLARA — Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo appeared to have played his final game with the 49ers when last season ended.
And Tua Tagovailoa’s future with the Miami Dolphins was anything but a certainty, either.
The Dolphins hired 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel as head coach in early February, and it was easy to connect the dots with a possible reunion with Garoppolo.
Garoppolo said on Thursday the Dolphins were on his short list of potential options for the 2022 season.
“They were in the conversation,” Garoppolo said. “Not much came from it, but they were definitely one of the teams in the conversation. It seemed like a good spot.
“As an offense, tremendous skill players, everything they got going over there. Mike being a great coach . . . it was discussed. But I’m glad the way things worked out.”
The Dolphins decided to stand pat at quarterback.
McDaniel showed confidence in Tagovailoa, and the third-year player is responding with a breakout season. The Dolphins are 8-3, and Tagovailoa and McDaniel are in the conversations for NFL Player of the Year and Coach of the Year, respectively.
When the 49ers could not find a trade partner for Garoppolo, the sides got together to agree on a new, reduced contract to allow the union to continue for one more season. Garoppolo remained with the 49ers as Trey Lance’s backup.
After Lance sustained a season-ending injury in Week 2, Garoppolo stepped right back into the huddle.
Garoppolo will start for the 10th game in a row on Sunday, when the 49ers face the Dolphins at Levi’s Stadium. The 49ers have won four consecutive games and lead the NFC West with a 7-4 record.
Garoppolo is in the midst of his best season. He ranks fifth in the NFL with a 103.0 passer rating, and he is sixth with a 7.8-yard average per pass attempt. Garoppolo has thrown 16 touchdown passes with just four interceptions.
“I think things got a way of working out,” said Garoppolo, who is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent after the season.