With the trade market dying down, there’s a darn good chance Jimmy Garoppolo will be back with the San Francisco 49ers this coming season. In fact, the former Super Bowl quarterback will more than likely start over rookie No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance.
That wasn’t always the case. After missing nearly half of San Francisco’s games over the past three seasons, Garoppolo was just recently on the chopping block. The New England Patriots had interest in his services before selecting Mac Jones in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Chicago Bears (Justin Fields) and Denver Broncos (Teddy Bridgewater) also seemingly had interest.
From the 49ers perspective, we’re hearing rumors that head coach Kyle Shanahan was targeting Andy Dalton in free agency with the intention of trading Garoppolo earlier in the offseason.
“They wanted to sign Andy Dalton in free agency as their veteran quarterback and then trade Garoppolo and draft Lance. I’m told Shanahan was pretty upset when they did not land Dalton,” Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reported.
Ultimately, Dalton signed with the Bears to be their stopgap starting quarterback for the 2021 season. It’s also interesting that Dalton opted for the Bears over San Francisco. Perhaps, it had to do with finances.
What is the San Francisco 49ers’ plans at quarterback?
Right now, the idea is to start Garoppolo next season with Lance eventually taking over in 2022. In fact, 49ers CEO Jed York indicated recently that Lance could sit for the next two seasons. While that doesn’t make a ton of sense after San Francisco pretty much used three first-round picks and a third rounder on the 20-year-old signal caller, it would also mean that Garoppolo has remained healthy and led the 49ers to Super Bowl contention.
Garoppolo’s future in Northern California is complicated by the fact that he’s set to count $26.48 million against the cap in 2021 and another $27 million against said cap in 2022. The 49ers can get out from his contract, via a trade or release, following the 2021 campaign with a $25.6 million in cap savings.
Shanahan did note post-draft that the 49ers will allow Lance to compete for the starting job with Garoppolo during training camp. That could expedite Garoppolo’s departure from San Francisco should another team show interest in a trade or a starting quarterback goes down to injury.
For now, the San Francisco 49ers will likely rely on Garoppolo getting them back to elite status after an injury-plagued 2020 campaign. After that, Lance will be the face of the franchise.