Once training camp started, head coach Kyle Shanahan did indeed hand the keys over to Lance, which increased the expectation of a Garoppolo trade.
But due to multiple factors, including his contract and the fact that he underwent shoulder surgery earlier this year, there were no serious bidders for his services.
Suddenly, most expected San Francisco to cut Garoppolo, although there were whispers they would keep him and make him Lance’s backup.
On Monday, the latter scenario became a reality.
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers agreed to a restructured one-year contract that will keep the QB in San Francisco this season, per sources. The contract contains no-trade and no-tag clauses, assuring Garoppolo will remain in SF this season and have the freedom to leave in 2023. pic.twitter.com/2tj0dDGgN9
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 29, 2022
This is the best-case scenario the 49ers could’ve hoped for, and it is another fortuitous event they have enjoyed over the past several months.
Lance Has Potential, But An Insurance Policy Is Needed
After he flashed his all-around skills in the 49ers’ first preseason game a few weeks ago, Lance had many pundits falling in love with his potential, and some even publicly predicted he would lead them to a Super Bowl appearance.
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 29, 2022
He could very well have a season that impresses everyone, as well as some clutch moments during the regular season and playoffs.
But Lance will almost certainly also have some growing pains and take his lumps at times, just because it’s part of the learning process for a young NFL signal-caller.
Having Garoppolo on deck as a QB2 will not only allow the Niners to continue to be successful should Lance go through a particularly rough stretch or get injured, but it will also take some pressure off Lance.
Their other options at QB2 had been Brock Purdy, a rookie taken in the seventh round of this year’s draft, and Nate Sudfeld, who has thrown just 37 passes in three NFL seasons.
Purdy looked solid during the preseason, but relying on a rookie or someone who has only thrown 37 career passes to be a QB2 isn’t wise, especially given Lance’s inexperience.
Garoppolo has gone 31-14 as the 49ers’ QB1 over the last five years, and he has taken them to two NFC Championship Games and one Super Bowl in just the last three seasons.
Even if Lance suffers a serious injury and has to miss several games this season, San Francisco will still be in good hands.
Garoppolo Staying Shouldn’t Hurt San Francisco’s Future
Most of the 49ers’ core players are young and under contract for this season and the 2023 campaign.
The team has been working on a contract extension for star pass rusher Nick Bosa, but there isn’t any real urgency to get that done.
Since Garoppolo still has just one year left on his contract, it would come off the books next spring, at which point it would be easier for the 49ers to pay Bosa what he deserves.
With Deebo Samuel signed to an extension after asking to be traded and Garoppolo staying in the fold, San Francisco can fully place its focus on what happens on the field and not the tricky aspects of the business side of the NFL.