49ers name Jimmy Garoppolo, not Trey Lance a team captain

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

The 49ers made a pretty easy decision with their team captains for 2021, which include Jimmy Garoppolo, and that’s a job Trey Lance will have to earn down the road.

The San Francisco 49ers officially announced their seven team captains for the upcoming 2021 campaign, and there honestly weren’t too many surprises on the list.

If anything, the bulk of captains could be associated with Pro Bowls and team All-Stars.

Beyond just being the frequent representatives for opening kickoffs, captains set the tone in the locker room, provide guidance to other players and hold a general level of responsibility for the player-related nature of the team.

49ers 2021 team captains

The following players were announced on Wednesday:

  •  TE George Kittle (Years as Captain: 4)
  • LB Fred Warner (Years as Captain: 3)
  • LT Trent Williams (Years as Captain: 2)
  • DL Arik Armstead (Years as Captain: 2)
  • S Jimmie Ward (Years as Captain: 1)
  • RB Raheem Mostert (Years as Captain: 1)
  • QB Jimmy Garoppolo (Years as Captain: 3)

The only fresh face to the group is Ward, who has effectively taken over the role of elder statesman within the secondary in the wake of cornerback Richard Sherman departing via free agency during the offseason.

Ward and Armstead are also two of the longest-tenured Niners now on the roster, and the other players’ placements essentially speak for themselves.

49ers place captain badge on Jimmy Garoppolo, not Trey Lance

Despite whatever desires head coach Kyle Shanahan had during the offseason to move on from Garoppolo, highlighted by moving up to No. 3 overall in this year’s NFL Draft to select quarterback Trey Lance, it’s clear enough Shanahan still wants to embrace whatever respect Jimmy G has over the locker room.

And judging by Garoppolo’s teammates’ comments during the offseason, especially Kittle, that respect as a leader is still very much there.

Respect is earned in this league. While there might be some already for Lance, namely in the wake of him being drafted so high and whatever collegiate pedigree he brings with him, his status as a captain will be something Shanahan will want him to achieve in time.

Just like taking over the starter’s role. It would almost be foolish for San Francisco to simply grant Lance captain status right out of the gate when the rookie has yet to take a regular-season snap.

Although it’s not completely out of sorts to name first-year players captains.

That respect is going to be gained by an excellent work ethic, setting an example for everyone else. And it also doesn’t hurt to be good on the field, too. All those areas are elements of Lance’s game that’ll need development.

Perhaps we’ll be revisiting this discussion a year from now and see Lance with a “C” on his jersey.

Next. 4 Niners rookie backups who'll be starting by end of 2021. dark