49ers roster: 5 best training camp battles to watch in 2021
By Peter Panacy
49ers Training Camp Battle No. 1: Jimmy Garoppolo vs. Trey Lance
While the Niners will have no shortage of provocative camp battles to watch, the clear-cut No. 1 battle that’ll get the most attention will be for the starting quarterback job.
An educated guess suggests the veteran, Jimmy Garoppolo, will win out. Despite his limitations and injury history, he has far greater command on Kyle Shanahan’s complex offense and much more recent experience, whereas the rookie, Trey Lance, played just one game in 2020 and saw one full year as a starter the season before at North Dakota State.
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That said, Lance could still end up winning this camp battle if he’s able to close the perceived gap to a point where Shanahan feels the rookie is just as competent at winning games as Jimmy G.
Particularly with the knowledge that San Francisco could then get out from under Garoppolo’s sizable contract, thereby saving money to either extend other key players on the roster or even splurge in NFL free agency over the next year or two while Lance plays on his rookie contract.
Even if Garoppolo wins out, fans will want to know whether or not Lance’s maturation process is moving forward according to plan or, in an even better scenario, he’s far ahead of where the 49ers thought he’d be when they made him the No. 3 overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft.
Don’t expect any shortage of Lance-Garoppolo storylines between now and Week 1.