4 first-year 49ers who could steal starting jobs in 2021

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, NFL Draft, San Francisco 49ers
Trey Lance poses with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

49ers Rookie No. 1: QB Trey Lance

If you were forced to put money on whether or not rookie quarterback Trey Lance would start over the veteran, Jimmy Garoppolo, at some point early in 2021, the safe bet would certainly be Jimmy G.

After all, Lance played only one game in 2020 and has just one full collegiate year as a starter, 2019, under his belt. Combined, he’s tossed just 318 pass attempts, which is awfully low for a player expected to come in right away and start for a San Francisco squad with nothing short of a deep playoff run in mind.

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That said…

Kyle Shanahan wants competition. He wants Garoppolo to be pushed. And Shanahan also understands the sooner the 49ers can successfully make the transition from Garoppolo to Lance, the better. Not just in terms of immediate financial impact, due to Garoppolo’s sizable contract hits in 2021 and 2022, but also for the long-term health and chemistry of the franchise.

It’s not hard to find arguments going either way: some in favor of Jimmy G starting for all of 2021 while others suggest Lance needs to be starting right out of the gate regardless of Garoppolo’s presence.

But one thing is clear. The Niners want to make this change happen, and Shanahan will do so the moment he feels Lance gives San Francisco just as good a shot at winning games as Garoppolo.

If it’s sooner than later, well, there you go.

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