Kiss Of Death Or Ultimate Co-Sign? | GOAT WR Jerry Rice Knew Trey Lance “Was Gonna Be Special”

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

The NFL offseason has been a roller coaster, with players changing teams left and right and big bags of cash being shelled out. Free agency 2022 has brought some very tenuous circumstances for some players and teams. One of those teams is the San Francisco 49ers, who’ve had their fair share of issues since their last-second NFC Championship Game loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams. 

Stalled contract negotiations with star wideout Deebo Samuel, who’s unhappy with how he’s being used and requesting a trade, have been problematic. An even bigger dilemma revolves around the quarterback position, where veteran QB Jimmy Garoppolo is still on the team despite the front office making it clear that Trey Lance is the future. 




Garoppolo led San Francisco to the doorstep of another Super Bowl appearance in what was supposed to be his farewell tour. The team was adamant about trading Jimmy G once it chose the former North Dakota State quarterback with the third overall pick in the 2021 draft. This is supposed to Lance’s team now, but with Garoppolo needing shoulder surgery following the season the trade market for him went dry. 

Trey Lance Isn’t Next Up He’s Right Now

That brings us to Trey Lance, the second-year pro who was pretty solid in a few appearances last season, passing for 603 yards, five touchdowns and just two interceptions. Lance has his detractors, but he also has his believers. 

One of those believers is former Niners receiver Jerry Rice, who’s recognized as the GOAT receiver. 

In a recent interview with “Boardroom,” Rice was detailed in what he liked about the athletically gifted Lance:

“I knew Trey was gonna be special from the first day I talked to him. I told him right before the draft, I said, ‘You’re going to be a San Francisco 49er.’ He was like, ‘No way. No way.’ But what he brings to the table is that not only is he a great athlete, but he’s going to inspire everybody else around him to be great.”



Rice Says He Has All The Tools

The draft profile on Lance raved about his prototype size at the position (6 feet 4 and 225 pounds). Credited with sound mechanics, a strong live throwing arm, good pocket movement, QB run principles, and experience playing in a scheme that featured varying passing concepts. So for Rice it was a no-brainer that the Niners should take him.

“This guy has all the tools. He’s got that rocket arm. And the thing too that he’s going to bring to the table: mobility. Being able to get outside, extend plays, do all those things and still have the vision downfield where he can use that arm to get the ball to his playmakers. So, I’m excited about this guy being onboard.”


All-Pro Tight End George Kittle Talks Lance Taking Command

With Lance thrust into the starting role, his leadership is imperative. And according to reports, he’s showing that during OTAs. Tight end George Kittle has taken notice. He will be Lance’s most trusted receiver, especially if Samuel gets his way and bounces. 

In an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Kittle had this to say about the 22-year-old signal caller. 

“I definitely think he’s taken ownership,” Kittles said. “You can kind of tell that in meetings, he’ll talk. He’s assuming responsibility. … He’s letting his personality show a little bit. And he’s going to be out there slinging the rock around.”

He also said Lance’s skills are mind-boggling in an appearance on the “Pat McAfee Show.” He also gave Jimmy G props for being a mentor to Lance despite the difficult situation.

While Kittle is a fan of Garoppolo’s moxie, the veteran QB doesn’t possess any of the physical attributes that Lance possesses. One big difference will be Lance’s ability to play off-schedule and make deep, accurate throws. Kittle has often been under-thrown with Jimmy G under center.

If anybody knows a great quarterback it’s Rice, the NFL’s all-time leading receiver and TD producer, who’s caught hundreds of passes from Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Steve Young. Time will tell if his support of Lance is the kiss of death or an accurate co-sign of the next great Niners quarterback.