49ers option No. 1: Jimmy Garoppolo stays… as Trey Lance’s backup
Jimmy Garoppolo missing OTAs and mandatory minicamp meant Trey Lance received all the first-team reps during those practices, and the lofty investment San Francisco made in Lance last offseason points almost exclusively to the second-year pro being the starter in 2022 anyway.
Yet the 49ers have also indicated they’d be comfortable with a situation in which Jimmy G is back.
Probably not with his scheduled salary, though.
Granted, retaining Garoppolo as a backup to Lance carries with it the likelihood of yet another quarterbacking controversy, only this time with the roles reversed but the inevitable questions of confidence in Lance remaining fully on the table.
However, should the Niners demand Garoppolo take a serious pay cut to hang around, they would at least have a starting-caliber option to fill in for Lance at a moment’s notice, should the 2021 No. 3 overall draft pick either flame out or suffer some sort of lengthy injury.
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This wouldn’t solve the likely circus that would ensure from both quarterbacks still being on the roster. But, as far as comfort level goes with backup quarterbacks, one should rightfully assume Garoppolo inspires more confidence than either of San Francisco’s other two backup options, Nate Sudfeld and Brock Purdy.
Plus, there’d likely be the added bonus of the 49ers receiving a compensatory draft pick in 2024 once Garoppolo signed a qualifying free-agent deal elsewhere, and that pick might be more than what the Niners could get for Garoppolo via trade right now.
From that perspective, retaining Garoppolo does make sense even if it’ll have plenty of ramifications and consequences elsewhere.