The San Francisco 49ers shocked the football world during the spring, exhausting multiple future first-round picks to move up to the No. 3 selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. The idea was to find a quarterback to eventually replace the injury-plagued Jimmy Garoppolo.
When former North Dakota State star Trey Lance heard his name called with the third pick back in April, talk started to heat up that he could replace Garoppolo as early as this season.
Now that the San Francisco 49ers have officially opened up training camp, head coach Kyle Shanahan is attempting to quiet rumors of a quarterback competition in Santa Clara this summer.
“There’s no open competition right now,” Shanahan told reporters before saying that Garoppolo is “the best quarterback in the building at the moment.”
Rumors surrounded a potential Garoppolo trade throughout the offseason after he missed all but six games a season ago due to injury. Availability is the best asset, something the veteran quarterback has been unable to provide San Francisco during his tenure in Northern California. In fact, the Super Bowl quarterback has missed 23 of a possible 48 games over the past three seasons. Shanahan also touched about that in a roundabout way.
“There’s no rookie that’s going to be able to come in and take your job if you’re at the top of your game,” the head coach told reporters.
What to make of Kyle Shanahan’s comments and the San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback situation
It’s somewhat surprising that Shanahan would go out of his way to throw cold water on the idea of a quarterback competition. San Francisco did not exhaust all of that capital in a trade up for Lance to have him sit early in his career.
With that said, the 49ers do have aspirations of Super Bowl contention this season. If Garoppolo is 100%, he gives them the best opportunity to compete over the short-term.
In no way does this mean we won’t see Lance on the field for the San Francisco 49ers as a rookie. There’s a good chance he will be utilized in certain packages. Primarily in goal-to-go situations. San Francisco’s offense has struggled in that area during the Shanahan era.
As for what we can expect this summer in Santa Clara, there’s every reason to believe Lance will see the field a whole lot in the 49ers’ three preseason games. They open up the exhibition slate August 14th against the Kansas City Chiefs.