The San Francisco 49ers made it clear Trey Lance is the quarterback of the future when they used the No. 3 overall pick on him in the 2021 NFL Draft.
But that didn’t mean Jimmy Garoppolo couldn’t still be the quarterback of the present.
The veteran still has two years remaining on his current deal and did guide the 49ers to the Super Bowl during the 2019 season.
So he is not some stopgap option by any means.
Yet plenty of fans likely assumed Lance would get the job because of his high draft slot.
If that were going to be the case, the team could have easily cut or traded Garoppolo.
Instead, the obvious was made official this week as the man himself announced he would be the starter.
— Tracy Sandler (@49ersfangirl) September 8, 2021
Lance should still see some time on the field even with this news.
A Chance To Return To Greatness
Garoppolo arrived in San Francisco during the 2017 season and has only appeared in more than six games on one occasion.
That came in 2019 when he started all 16 games, went 13-3, and nearly won a Super Bowl.
There was a common criticism that season about how the running game actually carried the 49ers.
Garoppolo and the 49ers still reached the Super Bowl and if not for a late defensive collapse against Kansas City, he would have been a hero in the city for life.
He is now getting a fair shot to play and deserves one given the fact he signed a five-year deal worth over $137 million just a few years ago.
Lance’s Time Will Come
Lance is only 21 years old and has not played a full season since 2019.
Trey Lance’s finger looks fine again. He’s throwing without a problem at 49ers practice pic.twitter.com/1dFmN27zTp
— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) September 9, 2021
That came at the FCS level with North Dakota State.
He played in one game last fall before the school decided to move its schedule to the spring, which allowed Lance to sit out and prepare for the draft.
So he still has plenty of time to learn the NFL game and just get back into the routine of leading a football team.
The 49ers clearly fell in love with him during the draft process, but the concerns are still there.
Keeping Garoppolo is a great insurance policy.
The veteran threw for nearly 4,000 yards in 2019 and finished with 27 touchdowns compared to 13 interceptions.
And if he struggles early, Kyle Shanahan can make the easy switch to Lance and a new era in San Francisco can begin.