How 49ers botched their handling of Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance in 2021

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) /
4 of 4
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

What do 49ers do about Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance now?

So often during any season, and so frequently during a game, the final outcome is determined by decisions that happened long before. Case in point, the Niners failed to invest enough resources at cornerback over the last couple of years, and they’re paying the price now.

San Francisco could have embraced Trey Lance at the soonest possible moment by parting ways with Jimmy Garoppolo in the last offseason. In fairness to Jimmy G, he’s taken the circus that followed about as well as anyone could have, although his $26.4 million scheduled earnings for this year was as good a reason to want to hang around no matter what.

Kyle Shanahan dropped the idea of going back and forth between the two quarterbacks midseason, and Garoppolo has been the decided starter ever since Week 5.

That’s not going to change.

It’s come at the cost, though, of Lance’s development. To date, he remains the only first-round quarterback selected in 2021 not starting, and the only remaining hope is whatever on-field lack of experience he has in 2022 is made up for by whatever is happening behind closed doors.

Perhaps it is. That’s an unknown.

Garoppolo is going to remain the 49ers’ starter for the rest of 2021 unless they find themselves eliminated from playoff contention in, let’s say, Weeks 16 or 17. But that would be it.

Perhaps Shanahan’s long-term plans will pan out well enough, and this will be forgotten if Lance turns into a quality quarterback.

Only if, though.

Next. 49ers' 10 worst quarterbacks in franchise history. dark