We finally have news out of the 49ers as to what they’re planning on doing at quarterback for the 2022 season — if only just an inkling.
San Francisco had planned to trade starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason to let No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance take over in 2022, until March surgery on Garoppolo’s throwing shoulder derailed that plan. Since then, speculation has run rampant that the Niners could not only keep Jimmy G but also have him start in the upcoming season — until head coach Kyle Shanahan threw some water on the fire Tuesday.
“Nothing’s changed since that surgery,” Shanahan said. “Where we were at before that, and then he got the surgery, so everything went on hold. I expect him at some time, most likley, to be traded, but who knows? That’s not a guarantee. It’s been exactly on hold when that happened. When he’s healthy, we’ll see what happens.”
So, not exactly a strong stance on their quarterback situation, but a stance nonetheless.
The 49ers mortgaged a good chunk of their future to move up and take Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft, trading the No. 12 pick of that draft as well as two future first-rounders to move up to No. 3. The team still had Garoppolo on the roster, however, and always planned to have him start in 2021 as Lance transitioned from FCS North Dakota State to the NFL.
Garoppolo led San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game, despite completing only 58.1 percent of his passes for 535 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in three playoff games. Lance had somewhat similar stats in six regular season appearances (two starts): 57.7 percent completion, 603 yards, five touchdowns and two picks.
It was widely assumed that Garoppolo would get the year, then the team would move on and install Lance as the starter in his second year. But lukewarm interest in the trade market, as well as the shoulder surgery, has made it hard for San Francisco to find a buyer.
In addition, some in NFL circles have discussed whether or not Lance is ready to start, and the team has yet to give a firm endorsement for him in the starter role. NFL reporter Matt Lombardo said team brass has been “continually underwhelmed” by the second-year QB throughout the offseason process.
Still, based on Shanahan’s words Tuesday, it seems they at least will continue trying to trade Garoppolo and let him take over — if they can find an interested team.
Credit: Notigroup Newsroom.
[Written in collaboration with other media outlets with information from the following sources]