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Schefter: Trey Lance was probably further behind than people realize

ESPN’s Adam Schefter said Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t a lock to be traded

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

ESPN’s Adam Schefter was on PFF’s Ari Meirov’s podcast, and the two discussed the future of the San Francisco 49ers quarterback position.

Meirov asked Schefter whether Jimmy Garoppolo could get traded for a first-round pick if Russell Wilson or Aaron Rodgers stay with their respective teams:

And you say likely on Garoppolo. I guess that’s fair. I’m just telling you, “Trey Lance was probably further behind than people realize. Trey Lance is greener than people realize. Trey Lance is going to need more work than people realize. And they have a roster that can win now.

And if you’re San Francisco, and you just said maybe if somebody gives up a 1 [first round draft pick], and let’s just talk this out for a moment. Let’s just say somebody gives up a 2 and a 4 for Garoppolo, I’m just throwing something out there — that’s the Sam Darnold trade last year — Darnold went for a 2 and a 4 and a 6.

Now you’re San Francisco. Jimmy Garoppolo is one of the most popular and respected players in our locker room. Players love playing with him. We have him under contract this year at a very friendly $25 million cap number.

And if we play with him this year, and we lose him after this year, we’re going to get a third-round comp pick in return. So are you better then playing the season with Jimmy, while getting the training that Trey still needs, or are you better trading him for a 2/4/6? What’s the better alternative, you tell me?

Schefter would later say that Lance is developing, and the 49ers are happy with him. But, he also said, “it’s still absolutely on the table that he could be moved, and I think he believes he will be traded.”

There is plenty to glean from what Schefter said in those three minutes. First, Schefter and Meriov bringing up the Darnold trade wasn’t by accident. This screams the 49ers aren’t happy with the early offers they’re getting for Garoppolo and are using the biggest talking head in the NFL to drive up his price.

The NFL knows who Garoppolo is. You’re not going to turn him into a different quarterback. Jimmy is who he is. We’ve seen how Darnold and Carson Wentz trades have looked. That’s not going to help Jimmy’s case. If you attach a first or second rounder, you’re putting your job on the line.

If you’re Washington or Denver, why would you offer more than a fourth-rounder? You can play hardball knowing the 49ers don’t have much leverage and could ultimately release Jimmy.

I’m not a fan of how Schefter paints Lance not being ready as an anomaly. He’s 21, played his college ball at the FCS level, and sat out of the 2020 regular season. Find me a 21-year-old who would be ready to start or beat out Garoppolo in the same situation. Good luck.

The 49ers would prefer Rodgers and Wilson to stay put so they could maximize Garoppolo’s value. As Schefter said, he’s playing devil’s advocate. This team has reached its ceiling with Garoppolo under center. It’s time for a change, and I imagine all parties involved understand that.

This is a precursor for an inevitable “the 49ers are interested in Tom Brady” later this week. That’s typically how the offseason works.

If there is a conflict between committing to Lance, who needs more time, or going an alternative “win-now” mode, the Niners are in a tough spot. However, based on their investment, the 49ers are going to have to see this thing through with Lance one way or another.

You’re an NFC contender with one of the best rosters in the league. You’re entering 2022 with a third-place schedule. This upcoming season will be the best time to groom Lance.