Following their heartbreaking NFC Championship Game loss to the Rams, the San Francisco 49ers were adamant about moving on from starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The team drafted former North Dakota State signal caller Trey Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft expecting that Lance would take over the starting position in 2022.
The 49ers were also expected to trade Garoppolo before the season started, even after Jimmy G led the Niners to the precipice of a second Super Bowl appearance with him as the starter. And while that still seems to be the plan, it’s not nearly as etched in stone as some would believe.
Kyle Shanahan wouldn’t say who his starter would be if both Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo are on the roster, but listen to his answer on Brian Griese as QB coach and it’s pretty clear #49ers pic.twitter.com/uyPrYVuqsS
— Tracy Sandler (@49ersfangirl) March 29, 2022
Former Niners cornerback and NFL All-Pro Richard Sherman believes it’ll still happen, but Lance will only be allowed so much of a learning curve, and if he can’t rise to the occasion Jimmy G is still in the cut.
“I think he’s (Jimmy Garoppolo) going to be on the team during training camp,” said the former Stanford and Seattle Seahawks standout on “The Richard Sherman Podcast.”
“I think he’ll be more of a safety valve, and a really expensive safety valve, but safety all the same.”
Garoppolo is in a peculiar situation, as the 49ers were hoping to trade Jimmy G, but no team would bite after he had offseason shoulder surgery. Now, they’re stuck with both him and Lance.
Sherman Says Team Will Do All They Can To Make Lance The Guy
After telling Garoppolo all last season that it would be his last in San Francisco, the team may be trying to save face, and that means giving Lance every opportunity to prove he’s ready to lead a Super Bowl roster.
“I think they’re going to give Trey Lance an opportunity to start in ballgames. I think they want to see it. I don’t think he’ll play a ton in the preseason, so they’ll keep a ton of backup quarterbacks in preseason. It’s not worth the injury risk to Jimmy G with his cap number, and it’s not worth the injury risk to the guy who you want to start.”
“We’re not just going to get rid of a good quarterback because we have other quarterbacks on the roster”
Kyle Shanahan responds to questions about the 49ers’ QB situation pic.twitter.com/7C9XeyauHw
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) March 29, 2022
Garoppolo Has Proved Capable Of Leading A Team To Super Sunday: Lance Is Still Raw
While there’s no questioning Lance’s talent, reports out of SF is the team’s brass has been consistently underwhelmed with his progress. This was the risk GM John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan took when drafting the super-green talent out of NDSU. Despite his 17-0 collegiate record, Lance didn’t face anywhere near the competition needed to prepare a quarterback for the NFL.
Another big dilemma is Garoppolo’s $26 million cap hit if he’s on the roster, which looks highly plausible. Throw in disgruntled wideout Deebo Samuel, and things aren’t looking great on the offense for the Niners.
In actuality, it’s not a bad situation for the Niners to have both QBs still on the roster. While it may put them over the luxury tax, that’s better than having a roster ready to compete for a Super Bowl and no trustworthy QB.