It seemed as though the 49ers mismanaged the quarterback position last offseason. After trading for Trey Lance, they elected to bring back Jimmy Garoppolo on his current contract.
In hindsight, the trade looks excellent as the team developed Lance behind the scenes while they made the NFC Championship with Jimmy under center.
I would argue that Kyle Shanahan didn’t put enough stock into the human element of how two quarterbacks would potentially tear the locker room apart. That’s why we saw him nix the Trey Lance package early on. Still, the first half of trade worked out. Now, it’s on Lance to perform.
What do to with Jimmy?
Garoppolo won’t be a 49er next season. That’s all we know. There’s no need to re-hash or go through hypotheticals that we already have.
I’m curious whether the team ships him to the AFC. Pittsburgh and Denver would be ideal situations for Garoppolo to land. Both teams are contenders. Also, both teams could offer the 49ers a valuable asset from a draft pick standpoint.
More than anything, I cannot wait to see what the team gets in return for Garoppolo. How much of that is related to the lack of quarterbacks available on the market is to be determined. If Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson stay put, that’ll be music to San Francisco’s ears.
Who backs up Lance?
Nate Sudfeld’s contract is up with the 49ers. Having played with Anthony Lynn on two separate teams, Tyrod Taylor feels like the most seamless replacement.
Finding a backup quarterback who can help Lance prepare throughout the week and help him in-game is a bigger deal than what’s being made.
Teddy Bridgewater is an unrestricted free agent, but he’ll likely want to start somewhere. Remember, the 49ers flirted with the idea of bringing him in last season. Jacoby Brisset, Mitch Trubisky, and Chase Daniel are other options that could be on the Niners' radar.
I would be shocked if the team didn’t add a veteran backup for Lance.
What to expect from Lance
The 49ers followed the Chiefs QB model between Patrick Mahomes and Alex Smith. Believe it or not, Lance played more during his rookie season than Mahomes. Of course, Mahomes blossomed into a superstar the following season.
The recent discourse about whether or not Lance is ready to start has been silly. The 21-year-old will go through a full offseason where he’s receiving all of the first-team reps, throwing to receivers he’ll work with, and being treated as the starter. That matters.
We’ve heard the players and some of the league’s top insiders say the Niners love where Lance is at with his development. The Lance that will work out today will be night and day from the Lance that takes the field once training camp starts.
Patience is key. Nobody knows what to expect, not even Shanahan. There will be games where we see Lance and wonder why on earth the 49ers traded multiple first-rounders for him. There will also be games where you wondered how in the world did he sit behind Jimmy last season.
The 2022 season could be a bumpy ride, but that doesn’t mean the team won’t have success. The hope is Lance irons out his inconsistencies in time for a playoff run.