Trey Lance

The Changing 49ers QB Outlook

The Kyle ShanahanJohn Lynch regime has seen some twists and turns alter its quarterback plans. Although quarterback consistency has eluded this duo for much of its six-season run in San Francisco, the plan to circle back to Jimmy Garoppolo will keep the 49ers in place as an NFC contender.

QB doors not opened hover over this 49ers era. Whereas Garoppolo has dealt with numerous injuries during his San Francisco stay, Shanahan’s initial plan — a 2018 Kirk Cousins free agency addition — probably would have allowed the team better fortune on the health front. The team was also connected to Tom Brady in multiple offseasons, with Lynch shooting his trade-inquiry shot back in 2017 and the Bay Area native being interested in signing with the then-reigning NFC champions in 2020. 49ers ties emerged even during Brady’s brief retirement window.

Shanahan and Lynch went from passing on QB answer in their first draft — one that saw the 49ers trade down from No. 2 to No. 3 and pass on Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson (and Mitch Trubisky, who went second overall) for since-departed defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — before seeing a long-term starter fall into their laps at that year’s trade deadline. That October 2017 trade, which cost the 49ers a second-round pick (No. 43 overall), is still paying dividends five years later.

The Garoppolo era appears near an end, but the 49ers are suddenly all-in again on a player who spent the offseason, training camp and preseason away from the team. Trey Lance‘s season-ending ankle injury dealt an inexperienced prospect a tough blow, but the Week 2 setback — albeit awkwardly — may have bolstered one of the NFL’s top rosters. Garoppolo’s re-emergence figures to stabilize the 49ers, providing them perhaps a considerably elevated floor. (An early-season Lance benching was already being rumored.) Instances in which a contending team loses a QB1 and is viewed as better for it are not exactly common throughout NFL history; this could be one of the few.

This reality nearly fell apart months ago, as the 49ers came close to trading Garoppolo before his value-hijacking March shoulder surgery. The Browns, Rams and Seahawks later loomed as a destinations in the event the 49ers cut him — this saga’s expected endgame in its final weeks. Although the 49ers have said the plan all along was to trade their four-plus-year starter, he always loomed as unusual Lance insurance. The 49ers drafted one of the most atypical quarterback prospects in league history last year, and the Division I-FCS product’s inexperience made going into the season without Garoppolo a tremendous risk. Yet, that appeared the plan. Lynch’s suggestion to approach Garoppolo with a pay-cut proposal ended up preventing one of the NFC favorites from seeing Lance’s injury leave them with an untenable in-house starter option.

While Garoppolo gives Shanahan a safer option to lead a three-All-Pro offense, the 49ers are in one of the weirder places at quarterback in recent memory. Their No. 3 overall pick will have finished his first two seasons with four starts and 102 pass attempts. Those numbers are not unprecedented by any means, but this is obviously a different situation compared to the likes of Jordan Love or busts Johnny Manziel (eight starts through two seasons) and Paxton Lynch (four). Lance, who could be kept through 2025 via the fifth-year option, remains firmly in San Francisco’s plans (indeed, Ian Rapoport of tweets that the Niners remain fully committed to Lance, who has a four- to six-month recovery timeline). But this rehab year will nix another shot at in-game development. These chances have continually been taken away from the North Dakota State alum.

Entering 2023, Lance will have just season of regular starter work on his post-high school resume. After redshirting in 2018, Lance tore up the FCS level (albeit with that tier’s best program) with 28 touchdown passes and no interceptions and led the Bison to another national championship. The COVID-19 pandemic led most of college football, save for Division I-FBS, to cancel its 2020 seasons (for the fall, at least). After a one-game 2020, Lance declared for the draft. Despite a highlight reel consisting entirely of redshirt-freshman plays, the dual-threat talent managed to follow fellow Bison standout Carson Wentz by becoming a top-three draftee. But Lance suffered a finger injury in 2021, limiting him during a season in which he was not viewed as a Garoppolo threat.

A sought-after QB prospect having thrown 420 passes in five seasons since high school is historically unusual territory for a player still expected to be a long-term NFL starter. Lance’s misfortune comes after an inconsistent preseason, one that helped push the 49ers to solidify a Garoppolo recommitment. A rocky Week 1 start on a waterlogged Soldier Field enhanced the mystery surrounding Lance’s status. A high ceiling may remain, but after four years away from full-time duty, can the 49ers be sure? San Francisco is also now veering toward Green Bay-Love territory; the 49ers will have gotten next to nothing from a first-round QB contract through two years. Though, Garoppolo’s restructure gives the team some flexibility the Packers lack thanks to Aaron Rodgers‘ record-setting $50.3MM-per-year extension.

Fielding an NFC championship-qualifying team with scant contributions from a No. 3 overall pick highlights the 49ers’ roster strength. Last year’s success and this year’s largely Lance-less operation also magnify the franchise’s decision to trade two future first-round picks to move up nine spots for such an unproven commodity. The 49ers have won in spite of their 2021 Lance- (or Mac Jones?)-motivated decision. It is understandable the 49ers dealt into future draft arsenals to land a quarterback upgrade, as Garoppolo (12th- and 13th-place QBR figures in 2019 and ’21, respectively) maxes out as an above-average option. But the team made a luxury pick with a Super Bowl-caliber roster in place.

The Shanahan-Jones connection likely will not fade anytime soon. Although Jones was not viewed on Lance’s level as a prospect last year, the 49ers’ April trade was initially believed to be for the Alabama QB. The 49ers went through an extensive investigation into Jones, the eventual Patriots pick at 15, before deciding on Lance. A report indicating the 49ers, who had held 2021’s No. 12 overall selection, being worried about the Patriots leapfrogging them for Jones does point to the less mobile passer being their initial preference. While Shanahan said both Lance and Jones would have been good options, the Jones what-if could linger.

Lance’s injury also thrusts Garoppolo’s health history back to the forefront. In addition to the shoulder malady sidetracked his trade market, the ninth-year vet played through calf and thumb issues in 2021, went down with a season-ending ankle problem in 2020 and missed most of the ’18 season due to an ACL tear. The 49ers having 2022 Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy and practice squad journeyman Kurt Benkert as Garoppolo’s only backups suddenly becomes a concern. Shanahan’s intermittent success with a rookie UDFA (Nick Mullens) notwithstanding, the team turning back to the trade market — this time to supplement Garoppolo — would make sense.

A backup with multiple years of control could be a priority as well. Garoppolo’s 2018 extension expires in March. The 49ers venturing to two NFC title games in three seasons without a high-end quarterback represents an achievement when considering the position’s rise in stature as rule changes have pushed most teams to build around the passing game. The quarterback that drew scrutiny for holding his team back being viewed as a rejuvenation tool is ironic, but the 49ers did well to forge this compromise. It could go down as a seminal compromise.

But little is settled for the team beyond 2022. After Garoppolo makes another push at a Super Bowl championship, his restructure’s no-franchise tag clause would stand to lead him to free agent market unlikely to include many attractive options (Lamar Jackson is not hitting the market, and Year 23 might actually be it for Brady). At that point, the paused Lance era will return to the 49ers’ front burner. Lance’s uncertain trajectory will be appropriate for a team that has seen its QB situation produce a highly unpredictable contender during the Shanahan-Lynch period.

49ers Place Trey Lance On IR, Bring Back RB Tevin Coleman

Both Elijah Mitchell and Tyrion Davis-Price are now on the mend for the 49ers. Davis-Price’s ankle sprain is expected to keep him out for multiple games, while Mitchell is early in what is viewed as a two-month recovery timetable from an MCL sprain. Veteran backs are en route.

After the 49ers promoted Marlon Mack to their active roster, they replaced him on the practice squad with Tevin Coleman. Weeks after the Jets released Coleman, the seven-year veteran worked out for his former team last week. This marks a return Bay Area trip for Coleman, who was with the 49ers from 2019-20.

The 49ers officially placed Trey Lance on IR as well. Lance underwent surgery to repair a broken ankle. San Francisco’s starter is out for the season and staring at a four- to six-month recovery timetable. This led Jimmy Garoppolo back to the top of the depth chart and Kurt Benkert onto the 49ers’ P-squad. This year’s Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, is currently Garoppolo’s backup.

This will be yet another Shanahan-Coleman reunion. The sixth-year 49ers head coach was Atlanta’s offensive coordinator during Coleman’s first two NFL seasons, and once the former third-round pick hit the market in 2019, the 49ers added him on a two-year deal. Coleman, 29, now represents insurance against another 49ers backfield injury.

Prior to unleashing Raheem Mostert in 2019, the 49ers had Coleman pegged as their starter. Even as Mostert morphed from special-teamer to first-stringer, Coleman played a steady role for the 49ers’ Super Bowl LIV-qualifying team. He totaled 724 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns in 2019 and surpassed 100 on the ground in San Francisco’s divisional-round win over Minnesota. A shoulder injury slowed him for the rest of those playoffs, and a knee injury in Week 2 of the 2020 season led to a lengthy absence and a vastly reduced role down the stretch that year.

Last season, Coleman played in 11 Jets games — in ex-49ers OC Mike LaFleur‘s offense — and averaged 4.2 yards per carry (84 totes, 356 yards). The Jets brought him back on a one-year, $1.5MM deal, but the team soon drafted Breece Hall in the second round and went with younger backs after training camp. The 49ers have ex-Coleman backup Jeff Wilson installed as their current starter, with Mack and rookie UDFA Jordan Mason as backups.

49ers’ Trey Lance Undergoes Ankle Surgery

2:47pm: In a statement, the team confirmed that the procedure was successful in repairing a “fibula fracture and ligament disruption.” The 49ers are confident that Lance will be able to make a full recovery in time for the start of the 2023 season.

1:54pm: One day after his season came to an abrupt end, Trey Lance is beginning the recovery process which will allow him to get back on the field. The 49ers quarterback is undergoing surgery to repair his fractured and dislocated ankle today, Tom Pelissero of NFL Network tweets

Lance was carted off the field during yesterday’s game against the Seahawks. The injury was immediately thought to be serious, and it was confirmed not long after that season-ending surgery would be required. Pelissero notes that the 22-year-old did not suffer a compound fracture, but that provides little in the way of consolation considering the blow this injury represents to his career arc and San Francisco’s QB plans.

2022 was meant to mark the beginning of Lance’s tenure as the undisputed starter, something which was signalled last April when the 49ers traded up to draft him third overall. Veteran Jimmy Garoppolo helped guide the team to the NFC title game last year, but was thought to be a key figure in the offseason’s quarterback market. A shoulder injury left San Francisco with few suitors outside of their division, however.

Ultimately, he stayed in San Francisco on a deal which greatly reduced his base salary but includes plenty of incentives. The fact that he has now once again become the No. 1 gives the 30-year-old significant earning potential. As detailed by ESPN’s Field Yates (on Twitter), Garoppolo could make $5.6MM based on playing time and victories, in addition to his $6.5MM base salary, which is fully guaranteed.

A repeat of last year’s success (along with that of the 2019 campaign, in which the 49ers went to the Super Bowl) cannot be ruled out, given Garoppolo’s track record. Still, he is scheduled to hit free agency this spring, while the 49ers will no doubt keep an eye on the recovery process of their presumed future franchise signal-caller.

49ers QB Trey Lance Out For Year

6:20pm: The 49ers confirmed in a tweet this evening that Lance “has suffered a broken right ankle and will require season-ending surgery,” according to Shanahan.

5:51pm: It seems the 49ers will have to face the worst-case scenario of today’s injury as ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that Lance’s ankle injury “is expected to require surgery that likely will end his season.”

San Francisco is fortunate, in the short term, that they held on to Garoppolo who will likely step in to quarterback the 49ers for the remainder of the season. There were whispers around the league that a trade could still be in the books as teams like the Cowboys saw significant blows to the quarterback position.

In the long-term, San Francisco has to have some concerns about the development of its young investment at quarterback. It’s certainly not Lance’s fault, but, if the rumor of his season ending are true, Lance will have gone three years in the NFL without playing any significant, consistent time at quarterback. In a sport that requires constant practice and refinement of skill, this is a disastrous start to what should be a promising career for Lance.

3:36pm: Today marked a significant point in Trey Lance‘s young NFL career. Instead of a bounce-back performance, however, it has resulted in the 49ers quarterback being carted off the field with a leg injury, as the team confirmed. 

Lance will be out for the remainder of the game, per a club announcement. He had an air cast on his right leg before being taken of the field to the locker room. As a result of the injury, Jimmy Garoppolo has taken over behind center for San Francisco.

Lance spent the entire offseason knowing he would take over as the 49ers’ franchise signal-caller. The team traded up to select him third overall in the 2021 draft, so it came as little surprise that they turned their attention to the 22-year-old. Expectations were understandably high, but his limited action in college and as a rookie backing up Garoppolo led to plenty of question marks entering the campaign.

The North Dakota State product did little to quell doubts about his ability to operate as a high-end starter last week. In an upset loss to the Bears, Lance completed just 13-of-28 passes for 164 yards and an interception, adding 54 yards on 13 rushing attempts. Conditions played a major part in each teams’ offensive struggles, of course, but much was thought to be riding on Lance’s performance today against the Seahawks.

It was reported earlier this week that head coach Kyle Shanahan could turn to Garoppolo as early as the team’s next game against the Broncos in the event Lance struggled. Now, he has done so out of sheer necessity. Garoppolo was the source of trade speculation all summer long, but stayed in the Bay Area via a restructured contract. Depending on the length of Lance’s absence, the veteran could once again carry the load for an extended period.

In the immediate future, Garoppolo faces the task of guiding a 49ers offense which, for the second straight contest, does not include All-Pro tight end George Kittle against the Seahawks. Seattle pulled off an upset win over Denver last week, but San Francisco currently leads 13-0. Big-picture implications loom large for the team at the QB position, however.

Latest On 49ers’ Quarterback Situation

Going into just his second game as a full-time 49ers starter, Trey Lance is not in a situation that compares to the ones most high-level quarterback prospects have encountered upon entering the NFL. Jimmy Garoppolo‘s restructured deal to stay with the team has undoubtedly shortened Lance’s leash, creating what could be unusually high Week 2 stakes for a first-year starter.

Heavy favorites for a second straight week, the 49ers hoped their schedule’s first two games — against a rebuilding Bears team and a Seahawks squad that moved on from a Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback this offseason — would represent a nice onramp of sorts for Lance, Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post notes. After a waterlogged mess of a season opener, the 49ers are 0-1. And a pivot to Garoppolo could loom if a second straight shaky Lance start happens.

A 49ers loss to the Seahawks has led some who have worked with Kyle Shanahan to expect he would bench Lance before a Week 3 game in Denver, La Canfora adds. This would be one of the most unusual developments in recent NFL history, given what the 49ers gave up to draft Lance third overall. But Lance entered the league as an atypical prospect. And he ended up with a team with a Super Bowl-caliber roster, a setup that obviously differs from most teams that draft a quarterback at No. 3.

The 49ers threw their support behind Lance this offseason, spending months trying to unload Garoppolo. When nothing materialized by training camp, Shanahan approached his former starter about a reworked contract that kept him in San Francisco as Lance’s backup. Despite the 49ers assuring Lance this did not affect his status, some close to the situation — along with others around the NFL — did not see the Garoppolo reunion that way. Pushback against Lance having a short leash has emerged, but it is hard to envision the 49ers showing the patience most teams would with a top-three QB draftee considering their status as one of the NFC favorites.

Lance has barely thrown 400 regular-season passes since his high school graduation, seeing the COVID-19 pandemic wipe out his sophomore season at Division I-FCS North Dakota State. Shortly after the pandemic nixed the 2020 FCS fall season, the dual-threat QB parlayed his dominant freshman slate into following Carson Wentz as a top-three draftee from the FCS level’s premier program. A finger injury hindered Lance as a rookie, leading to him not threatening Garoppolo’s job security despite the veteran starter battling a slew of ailments himself. An inconsistent Lance performance in the 49ers’ preseason finale provided the final push for the 49ers to reach a revised contract agreement with Garoppolo, per La Canfora.

While Garoppolo re-emerging as San Francisco’s starter early this season would represent an extraordinarily quick hook for a player in whom the team invested so much (2022 and ’23 future first-rounders and a 2022 third), the 49ers have assembled one of the NFC’s best rosters. Garoppolo does not offer a high ceiling, but his floor is probably above Lance’s at this point. Garoppolo’s deal expires at season’s end, which could effectively lead to a second redshirt season for Lance — in the event a benching does occur. But Garoppolo’s injury past points to Lance being needed as well.

Lance’s rookie deal runs through 2024, with a fifth-year option in place to extend it to 2025. The 49ers deciding they need a more experienced option under center soon would not prevent them from going back to Lance next year, but it would make for a rather unusual early-career arc and a potentially strained relationship. Lance can quiet benching speculation with a bounce-back performance Sunday, but this storyline probably will not move to the back burner anytime soon.

Rams Were Interested In Jimmy Garoppolo

The 49ers temporarily put the Jimmy Garoppolo rumors to bed when they agreed to a reworked contract with the veteran passer at the end of August. San Francisco had been trying all offseason to work out a trade, but at the beginning of training camp, the club approached Garoppolo about sticking around as Trey Lance‘s backup. No other club had a starting job materialize throughout the course of the preseason, so Garoppolo eventually accepted the Niners’ proposal.

However, if San Francisco had released Garoppolo — which was long seen as the most likely outcome if a trade did not come to fruition — the division-rival Rams were prepared to pounce, as Adam Schefter of reports. While it was well-known that another NFC West outfit, the Seahawks, may have attempted to sign Garoppolo if he had hit the open market, Schefter says the 49ers were unaware of Los Angeles’ interest until after the restructured deal was consummated (interestingly, Schefter also writes that the Rams and Garoppolo had the “makings of a deal” in place, which raises tampering concerns; the 49ers had given Garoppolo permission to seek a trade, but not to negotiate a potential free agent contract).

In LA, Garoppolo would have been the backup to Matthew Stafford, who did not throw during spring work due to right elbow issues. Obviously, the team was comfortable enough with Stafford’s prognosis to hand him a hefty extension in March, and in the run-up to the Rams’ Week 1 loss to the Bills on Thursday, head coach Sean McVay said his QB would not have any limitations (via Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic (subscription required)). Despite those confident words, Stafford is 34, has dealt with tendinitis that required an anti-inflammatory injection in the spring, and has thrown over 7,000 regular season and postseason passes in his pro career. Per Ian Rapoport of, Stafford went into the Buffalo game feeling better than he did throughout the 2021 season, though an accomplished QB2 certainly would have made sense for a team that has its eyes on a second consecutive championship.

Many have interpreted the 49ers’ decision to keep Garoppolo in the fold as an indictment on Lance’s performance this summer. The team, naturally, has continued to publicly express full faith in Lance, but Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post says that sources around the league do not believe San Francisco is as confident in its second-year passer as it professes to be. As one general manager told La Canfora, “It’s not what you say; it’s what you do and when you do it. A deal like that doesn’t come together overnight, and it got done right before the season. That tells you all you need to know. They think they need their backup to play.”

Albert Breer of says Garoppolo’s return was somewhat difficult for Lance to stomach at first, though he does not believe Lance will allow the decision to impact him moving forward. And, in contrast to La Canfora’s sources, Rapoport and colleague Tom Pelissero hear that Lance does not have a short leash and that the 49ers are definitely “his team.” The duo reiterates that, assuming the Niners do not need to call on Garoppolo this year, a midseason trade of Jimmy G is still an option, especially since his new contract makes the financials more palatable for an interested club.

49ers Approached Jimmy Garoppolo About Staying Weeks Ago

Although the 49ers attempted to trade Jimmy Garoppolo for months — both before and after his March shoulder surgery — the parties agreed to a surprising reunion. While Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday he did not believe this was a possibility, he floated it to his former starting quarterback near the start of training camp.

Garoppolo had been working away from the 49ers since camp opened, but Shanahan and John Lynch broached the subject of a return for a sixth San Francisco season about a month ago, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes.

I remember the first week of camp, me saying to Jimmy, ‘Hey, if you don’t like any of these opportunities, you don’t go to the place you want, you can’t get the contract you want, we would love to have you here as a backup, in a backup role,” Shanahan said, continuing to affirm Trey Lance has commandeered the 49ers’ QB1 gig. “But I want you to know that we feel that way. But I also think there’s no way you’re not going to get something as this goes throughout training camp.

And Jimmy agreed with that. And we waited throughout all training camp. I think as he saw the other situations out there, it seems like everyone was just waiting for us to cut him to see how much they could get him for.”

Lance did not threaten Garoppolo’s job status last season; the starter returned after missing time with early- and late-season injuries. (Lance also dealt with a finger injury that limited his effort to be San Francisco’s starter.) Garoppolo coming back to be Lance’s backup does invite questions about the 30-year-old passer making another bid at the starting job, but Shanahan and Lynch stressed to Lance a Garoppolo return would be contingent on a QB2 role.

Garoppolo’s camp searched for a team that would agree to pay him his $24.2MM base salary or a discounted rate, but nothing materialized. The ninth-year QB waited out the weekend’s final preseason games to see if an injury would change the equation. When it did not, he agreed to the 49ers’ compromise, Branch adds.

There were no problems with it at all,” Shanahan said of informing Lance of a Garoppolo return. “I told [Trey] the exact same thing that I told Jimmy. The options of Jimmy being here: That it had to be in a backup-type deal, which Jimmy knew was his option. We told that to Trey also. When I told Trey that Jimmy was going to come back, he was like, ‘Awesome. That dude was awesome for me last year. I can’t wait to be the same way.'”

The incentives in Garoppolo’s revised contract ($6.5MM base, $15.45MM max value) surfaced Tuesday as well. As thrilled as Lance might be Garoppolo could mentor him, his contract would pay him far more if the 49ers reinstated their old arrangement.

Garoppolo will receive $250K for each game in which he takes at least 25% of the offensive snaps, Mike Garafolo of tweets. For every game this happens and the 49ers win, Garoppolo pockets another $100K. Should Garoppolo take half the snaps in a playoff game, he would collect $500K. If a Garoppolo-quarterbacked 49ers team wins the NFC title, another $500K would be included. A $1MM incentive exists if Garoppolo plays at least 50% of the snaps for the 49ers in Super Bowl LVII, Garafolo adds.

This will be the third contract Garoppolo has played on with the 49ers, who took on his Patriots rookie deal in 2017 and gave him a five-year, $137.5MM deal in 2018. Garoppolo nearly played out that lucrative second contract, and while Lance is presently entrenched as the 49ers’ starter, the team’s previous first-stringer represents unique insurance. The 49ers could still end up trading Garoppolo to an approved destination by the Nov. 1 deadline, but it certainly cannot be ruled out the veteran retakes the reins from his unseasoned teammate at some point as well.

Trey Lance Dealt With Finger Injury Throughout 2021 Season

Trey Lance did not seriously push Jimmy Garoppolo for the 49ers’ starting job last season, with the elder quarterback keeping it despite multiple injury issues. A Lance injury problem looks to have contributed to his low-key rookie year.

Although the 49ers undoubtedly wanted to slow-play it with the unique prospect — a Division I-FCS talent who played one full season of college football — Lance said this week he did not get over his finger injury sustained during the preseason. Lance suffered a chipped bone in his right index finger during the 49ers’ preseason finale, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. That injury did not heal until after the season.

The North Dakota State product said that index finger remained bent until after the fracture finally healed, noting that it did not straighten until around February. While Lance faced a steep learning curve, this injury undoubtedly hindered him during an erratic rookie year in which he completed 57.7% of his passes. Garoppolo, who suffered a calf strain early in the season, stayed on the field despite late-season injuries to his right thumb and right shoulder, the latter of which leading to a surgery that has altered his trade market.

I think the finger for me was the biggest thing just as far as throwing the ball,” Lance said, via Branch. “I kind of had to learn how to throw the ball differently without using my pointer finger, I guess, just because of where [the injury] was at throughout the year.”

Only three quarterbacks chosen in the top three this century have started two or fewer games as rookies, with Lance joining JaMarcus Russell (two) and Michael Vick (one) in that regard. The expectation certainly is for Lance (two 2021 starts) to see much more time in 2022.

John Lynch has said Lance should be ready to take over this season, and with Garoppolo recovering from shoulder surgery and having been on the trade block for several months, the 21-year-old passer has a clear avenue toward doing so. Still, both Lynch and Kyle Shanahan hedging on a potential Garoppolo trade reopen the door to the 30-year-old veteran coming to training camp and potentially keeping his job.

This would be a financially difficult route for the 49ers, with Garoppolo’s $26.9MM cap number impacting the team’s ability to negotiate extensions with Nick Bosa and Deebo Samuel. While Garoppolo would represent expensive (but potentially necessary) Lance insurance, a healthier version of Lance is poised to take the reins as an NFL sophomore.

49ers Notes: Lance, Tart, Mitchell, McGlinchey

In a wild offseason which has seen a number of sizable quarterback trades, one of the most significant storylines has to do with a move which hasn’t taken place. With almost (if not every) 2022 starting QB spot already spoken for, Jimmy Garoppolo remains on San Francisco, something which may not change for the foreseeable future. General manager John Lynch pushed back against reports that, even if he is retained, Garoppolo will cede the starting job to 2020 first-rounder Trey Lance.

All these reports, I don’t know where they all come from” Lynch said, via Jennifer Lee Chan of NBC Sports. “We always believe in competition, but at the same time we are great believers in what [Lance] brings to the table. We believe he is ready. He is going to have to show that. I think he’s ready to show that to us, show that to his teammates, and show that to the world.”

Garoppolo has been thought to be on the trading block since the 49ers traded up to select Lance third overall last year. It came as no surprise that the veteran openly discussed a future destination other than San Francisco after the season ended, but shoulder surgery has complicated his trade market, which was already weighed down by his $26.9MM cap number for 2022. Even if Garoppolo does stay with the team into the fall, Lynch’s remarks still point to Lance at least having the inside track for the No. 1 role.

Here are some other notes out of the Bay Area:

  • The team’s secondary has undergone plenty of change this offseason, and it appears at least one safety spot will look different come next year. Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that Jaquiski Tartt “isn’t expected to return”. The 30-year-old has spent all seven of his NFL seasons with the 49ers, but the team has done homework on a number of secondary prospects, including Penn State’s Jaquan Brisker, Branch notes.
  • Running back Elijah Mitchell said yesterday that he underwent a minor procedure on his knee this offseason (Twitter link via Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury). A sixth-round pick last year, Mitchell enjoyed a productive rookie campaign, totalling 1,100 yards and six touchdowns. He added that he will “definitely” be ready for training camp.
  • The same will likely be true of right tackle Mike McGlinchey. The 27-year-old suffered a season-ending quadriceps tear in November. As Branch notes (on Twitter), however, the former top-10 pick expects to have recovered in time for the summer.

49ers CEO: Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance Can Coexist For Second Season

John Lynch said this week the 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo plan has changed. The team hoped to unload its longtime starter after the bigger quarterback dominoes fell, but Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery and a shrinking market has this situation at a standstill.

The 49ers do not plan to release Garoppolo, though the team ($1.8MM in cap space) is limited by carrying his $26.9MM cap number on the books. His salary does not become locked in until the vested-veteran guarantee date just before Week 1. That gives the 49ers time, but they are now no longer ruling out a second season with Garoppolo and Trey Lance on the roster.

It’s professional sports. If Steve Young can sit on the bench for four seasons — Steve Young is a Hall of Famer,” 49ers CEO Jed York said, via NBC Sports’ Jennifer Lee Chan. “If he is willing to do it, and he has the competitive will to do it, why can’t somebody else?

I think those two drove each other in the late ’80s and early ’90s to be the best that they could possibly be. If that’s the situation that we have and that’s what is created, sign me up for that problem any day.”

This refers to the 49ers’ four-year setup in which Young backed up Joe Montana, who held off the younger passer’s challenges for the job. The two flipped roles after injuries sidelined Montana in 1991, prior to a 1993 Montana trade to the Chiefs. The two Hall of Fame-bound QBs were on San Francisco’s roster together for six seasons. A Garoppolo-Lance competition obviously resides nowhere near the skill level the Montana-Young late-’80s battles did, but York mentioning the two passers vying for the job is interesting considering where San Francisco’s QB outlook stood after the NFC championship game.

Lance has received the impression the 2022 starting job will be his, and Garoppolo was openly discussing trade destinations in February. Should Garoppolo remain with the team into training camp, Lance’s grip on the job could loosen. The Division I-FCS prospect did not usurp an injury-plagued Garoppolo last season, but the latter’s right shoulder rehab will allow for the former No. 3 overall pick to receive extensive offseason reps. Garoppolo would be an expensive insurance policy, but with the 49ers coming off their second NFL championship appearance in three years, turning the keys over to an untested QB will bring risk. It does not look like this saga will conclude for a while.