He did lead the team to a Super Bowl a few years back and was about a foot away on a pass from making franchise history.
Instead, his 49ers lost and the quarterback only played in six games last season.
Injuries have been a common theme with Garoppolo in San Francisco, which explains the decision to use the No. 3 overall pick this year on Trey Lance.
The FCS quarterback seemed to be the most unproven of all the top prospects at his position, but the 49ers were enamored.
Using such a high pick on a quarterback means the franchise sees him as a future foundational piece.
For now, the 49ers are staying loyal to Garoppolo.
Yet head coach Kyle Shanahan won’t totally rule out Lance starting as early as Week 1.
49ers’ HC Kyle Shanahan said today that he would be “very surprised” if rookie first-round pick Trey Lance started Week 1 at Detroit. pic.twitter.com/GXkonYMW84
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 2, 2021
Maybe Not Week 1, But Soon
Shanahan simply says he would be surprised if Lance was ready to go Week 1.
That means he isn’t entirely ruling it out, however, Garoppolo’s job should be safe barring a total collapse in training camp and the preseason.
After that, it may be a week-by-week basis for the veteran quarterback.
The #49ers just concluded a very interesting practice. Trey Lance showed exactly why he was chosen No. 3 overall.
— Matt Maiocco (@MaioccoNBCS) July 31, 2021
The team clearly lacks faith in him based on the selection of Lance and the writing is on the wall for him to lose his job.
The only way the veteran will hold down the job for all 16 games is if he is playing at a Pro Bowl level and the 49ers are winning.
Because if they are winning and Garoppolo is not a key reason why, expect to see Lance in there sooner than later.
Shanahan likes Lance’s athleticism and the 21-year-old seems to be a better fit for the offense.
One Thing Holding Lance Back
The reason Lance may not be ready for the job this instant is because he only played in one game last year with North Dakota State.
The season began in fall, only for it later to be moved to spring because of COVID-19.
Lance knew he was a top prospect and sat out that spring slate, leaving him with that one appearance last year.
That may have worked out for the best because his stock was clearly through the roof enough to be drafted so early ahead of another top player like Justin Fields.
But being away from live game action for so long is going to require an adjustment period.
The preseason will be great for Lance and should expedite the current problem he faces.
If he looks just fine in preseason?
Well, then the clock continues ticking for Garoppolo.
The veteran is owed roughly $50 million over the next two seasons, with a low dead cap value.
So perhaps a team swings a trade early in the year, thus allowing Lance to officially take over.