There’s at least a “chance” that Jimmy Garoppolo could wind up as the 49ers’ starting quarterback next year. At least, that’s what head coach Kyle Shanahan told Niners beat writers on Wednesday afternoon (via Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle).
“I think there’s a chance for anything, but I think we made it pretty clear that Trey [Lance] is our guy of the future, whenever that’ll happen,” Shanahan said. “But it was also nothing against Jimmy that we [drafted] him. But we do believe Trey will be our guy of the future. And like I said, I think it’ll be really hard if Jimmy’s [playing well] for [Lance] to beat [him] out right away. So it is kind of going like that right now and I’m not thinking much past that.”
The Niners sacrificed two future first-round draft picks to move up nine spots and select Lance. After that, many expected GM John Lynch to send Garoppolo elsewhere and recoup some of that ammo. Instead, they kept the veteran and installed him as the Week 1 starter. Lance, meanwhile, has started just once, filling in while Garoppolo nursed a calf strain. The rookie looked awful green against the Cardinals, allowing Jimmy GQ to immediately reclaim his job.
Garoppolo may be the better option for 2021, but it’s still hard to imagine him staying on board next year. Keeping the veteran for 2022 would saddle the 49ers with a ~$27MM cap charge. Meanwhile, trading or cutting him would only leave them with $1.4MM in dead money. Lance — this year’s No. 3 overall pick — will carry a much lower $7.75MM cap figure.
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