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5 San Francisco 49ers QB options to back up Trey Lance

Vincent Frank

The San Francisco 49ers will soon move off starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a trade, ultimately replacing him with 2021 No. 3 pick Trey Lance in the process.

Garoppolo, 30, led San Francisco to an appearance in the NFC Championship Game this season. Unfortunately, his performance in a loss to the Los Angeles Rams left a whole lot to be desired.

With the 49ers having spent three first-round picks and change to draft Lance last April, the future is his in Northern California.

However, general manager John Lynch and Co. must find a suitable backup quarterback should Lance struggle or find himself injured. Here’s a look at five ideal off-season options for the 49ers to back up Lance.

Related: Ideal Jimmy Garoppolo trade scenarios from the San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers add Tyrod Taylor to the mix

San Francisco 49ers sign Tyrod Taylor
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This former Pro Bowler with the Buffalo Bills is now nothing more than a backup at this stage in his career. Taylor, 32, has thrown all of eight touchdown passes since the end of the 2017 season. He also didn’t look too great for a bad Houston Texans team in 2021.

With all of that said, Taylor is the perfect option to come in and back up Lance. Other young quarterbacks have had a ton of success with Taylor acting the part of a veteran presence. That includes Justin Herbert with the Los Angeles Chargers in 2020 and Davis Mills in Houston this past season. We can even go back to Baker Mayfield with the Cleveland Browns back in 2018. Either way, expect Taylor to be a big-time target of general manager John Lynch and Co.

Related: Sportsnaut ranks 2022 NFL free agents

San Francisco 49ers snag Gardner Minshew away from the Eagles in trade

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

After pretty much wasting away on the bench for the Philadelphia Eagles this past season, the 25-year-old Minshew will be looking to head to a team that gives him a chance to see the field. For good reason. The former late-round pick has excelled in spot starting duties with both the Eagles and Jaguars since entering the NFL back in 2019.

For Minshew, heading to San Francisco would make a ton of sense. Should Lance struggle during training camp and the preseason, he’d be able to take over as the starter until the young quarterback is ready. And from a 49ers perspective, there’s an argument that can be made that Minshew isn’t a downgrade from Garoppolo in the QB room. It’s all about what a trade might cost.

Related: Updated NFL trade rumors heading into the offseason

Nick Foles heads to Northern California

San-Francisco-49ers-sign-Nick-Foles
Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Yet another veteran quarterback who is nothing more than a backup at this point, the 33-year-old Foles would provide Lance with stability in San Francisco. He’s been in the league a decade, has won Super Bowl MVP (that’s a thing) and has thrown 2,045 career passes.

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The idea here would be to add a quarterback who doesn’t pose a threat to Lance. Give him that initial confidence that the keys to the kingdom are his heading into his sophomore campaign. The Chiefs did a similar thing when they traded Alex Smith to Washington ahead of the 2018 season to give Patrick Mahomes said confidence. Instead of having Smith hover behind him, Kansas City brought in journeyman Chad Henne.

Related: Three moves the San Francisco 49ers must make this offseason

San Francisco 49ers bring in Marcus Mariota

Marcus Mariota contract Las Vegas raiders
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We have absolutely no idea what direction new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels is going to go in at quarterback. What we do know is that Derek Carr now seems to have a future in Las Vegas after his career in Sin City was in question under disgraced former head coach Jon Gruden. Now, what does this mean for Mariota heading into free agency? He’s probably looking for a situation in which the former No. 2 pick can compete for a starting job.

Whether Mariota is guaranteed to compete for a starting job with another team remains to be seen. However, it’s been a long time since he was a starter-caliber signal caller. San Francisco could swoop in and give him one of the better backup quarterback jobs in the NFL on the cheap.

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Andy Dalton finally lands with Kyle Shanahan

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

It was last offseason that San Francisco showed initial interest in Andy Dalton. Whether it was to be Garoppolo’s backup or to replace the veteran remains to be seen. A three-time Pro Bowler, Dalton ended up signing a one-year deal with the Chicago Bears after they promised him the starting job.

Fast forward almost a calendar year, and Dalton will now likely have to settle for a backup job on the cheap. He was terrible in his only season wih the Bears, throwing eight touchdowns against nine interceptions in eight games (six starts). Despite this, Dalton would offer San Francisco a vast amount of experience behind Lance.

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