With just a couple of months to go before the start of training camp in the National Football League, the brewing quarterback controversy of the San Francisco 49ers hasn’t gotten anywhere closer to being resolved.
Jimmy Garoppolo, the incumbent starter, is still on the roster despite persistent trade rumors, and Trey Lance, the third overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft, hasn’t come closer to getting the starting job.
No one in the 49ers organization – not head coach Kyle Shanahan nor general manager John Lynch – has given a definitive answer on who will start under center in Week 1 in September.
Although Lance showed some real promise in two starts this past season, no one, with the possible exception of people within the organization, knows whether he is truly ready to take the reins of one of pro football’s most iconic and storied franchises.
Trey Lance and Brandon Aiyuk next season 🔥🔥🔥 pic.twitter.com/zP6j7RgUbV
— Alex 👋 #ThankYouDeebo (@dbs408) April 26, 2022
But the only way to know if he is ready is to give him consistent snaps in games that actually matter.
Lance Can Only Learn So Much By Standing And Watching
Self-help gurus often tell people who want to start a bold new initiative that they will never truly be ready to start and that they do not need to be – simply start when enough preparation has been done.
Some of that preparation and learning can only be done by actually doing what one aspires to do.
Lance hasn’t played that much organized football yet, as he lost almost an entire season in college due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he did show off some impressive skills at North Dakota State University.
SAN FRANCISCO TAKES TREY LANCE 🚨🚨🚨
— Overtime (@overtime) April 30, 2021
There is a precedent in 49ers history for a QB who lacked experience coming in to succeed an established incumbent and doing well.
Several years ago, Alex Smith, who was a solid signal-caller, sustained a concussion midway through the 2012 season, and he was replaced by Colin Kaepernick, a second-round draft pick who hadn’t started a single game yet.
Kaepernick played well right away, and even when Smith was cleared to play, then-head coach Jim Harbaugh decided to stick with Kaepernick, who took the team all the way to the Super Bowl versus the Baltimore Ravens.
Despite a bad start, some still feel that if not for a pass interference penalty that wasn’t called on Baltimore in crunch time, perhaps Kaepernick would be the proud owner of a Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Moving On From Jimmy G Could Have Multiple Benefits
If the Niners do end up trading Garoppolo after all or even release him, it could help in more ways than one.
Star wide receiver Deebo Samuel is engaged in a standoff with the front office, as he has asked it to trade him because he is reportedly unhappy with being used as an occasional running back.
Samuel is also reportedly looking to get paid top dollar, just as several other star wideouts have this offseason.
If Garoppolo leaves the Bay, it could free up enough cap space to allow the Niners to give Samuel the big, long-term contract he wants and deserves, while also placing them in position to give Nick Bosa, their star pass rusher, a contract extension of his own.