The 49ers aren’t requiring Jimmy Garoppolo to attend mandatory minicamp, meaning Trey Lance is getting another notable endorsement.
Those who cling to the dimming hopes of the San Francisco 49ers retaining quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in a starting role for 2022 watched another key piece of evidence take shape on Monday when news broke the team would excuse the veteran signal-caller from mandatory minicamp this week.
Exactly why head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to move the three-day practices up a week and replace the final week of organized team activities is anyone’s guess.
But the fact Garoppolo won’t need to be there is another suggesting Shanahan and Co. are fully preparing for life without Garoppolo and an upcoming 2022 season with their top pick from last year’s NFL Draft, quarterback Trey Lance.
49ers won’t require Jimmy Garoppolo to attend mandatory minicamp
Garoppolo, who underwent shoulder surgery this offseason, isn’t expected to be able to throw until later this summer, perhaps as late as training camp in July, so it made more than enough sense to let him sit out both OTAs and minicamp as the Niners seek out the dwindling and seemingly slim prospects for a trade.
Teams aren’t required to levy fines against players who don’t attend this portion of offseason workouts, however that will change during training camp.
Garoppolo, meanwhile, hasn’t participated and won’t partake in on-field activities for some time.
Naturally, this means Lance will be receiving the bulk (if not the entirety) of first-team reps with the maximum crop of starters San Francisco will have available.
Jimmy Garoppolo missing mandatory minicamp shows 49ers are fully invested in Trey Lance
Granted, the 49ers won’t don pads and won’t engage in fully physical practices until training camp kicks off in July, yet the all-too-important chemistry needing to be developed in the ramp-up time from OTAs through minicamp will fall on Lance’s shoulders.
There are going to be those who wonder if the Niners should retain Garoppolo as a starter regardless of his injury status and recovery, but Lance is going to be treated as QB1 anyway.
That’s important, as it shows San Francisco is treating its top investment from the 2021 draft as the bona fide starter heading into 2022. No more questioning of roles, no more assuming Lance will be riding the pine as a backup for the upcoming season.
It’s something the Niners Wire’s Kyle Madson pointed out not long after news of Garoppolo’s dismissal from a required attendance broke:
"All signs point to Lance being the starting quarterback for the 49ers in 2022. Every player and coach is talking as though he’s the team’s new leader, and at some point he just has to play. The club likely wants to see what he can do in game situations after a full NFL offseason of development. Sitting him for another year would burn another season of his rookie contract and give them similar question marks under center going into 2023."
The 49ers would preferably avoid the same question marks and controversies they dealt with both Garoppolo and Lance for the entirety of 2021, and the fact Jimmy G has been asked to stay away from minicamp is yet another suggesting of why Lance is the future.
Granted, Lance will need to avoid flaming out during camp. But nearly every report from at-the-site reporters and insiders suggests Lance is taking advantage of opportunities given, and the Niners are indeed preparing him to be the starter this season.
What that means for Garoppolo is anyone’s guess, but the team seems poised and prepared for life after Jimmy G and going all in with Lance as “the guy” for the immediate future and beyond.