While training camp is usually about getting players ready for the season, the 49ers are going to face one of the more unique camps entering 2022.
A year ago at this time, the San Francisco 49ers were heading towards training camp in the wake of one of the biggest trades in franchise history, the aggressive move-up in the 2021 NFL Draft that landed quarterback Trey Lance.
Lance practicing alongside the veteran signal-caller, Jimmy Garoppolo, created a swarm of controversy and speculation that hasn’t gone away, even though the Niners have made it clear they’d prefer trading Garoppolo away sooner than later.
With less than two weeks before San Francisco kicks off its 2022 version of training camp, Garoppolo remains on the roster. In turn, that’s provided one of the key storylines that’ll surely grab the fanbase’s attention when head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad takes the field once more.
Starting off with that “elephant in the room” Garoppolo question, let’s look at those storylines that’ll continue to garner headlines and attention when camp kicks off on July 26.
49ers training camp question No. 1: Will Jimmy Garoppolo be on the roster?
Talking Garoppolo trades is getting old, no doubting that. After grabbing quarterback Baker Mayfield from the Cleveland Browns, the Carolina Panthers are no longer in play. And the Seattle Seahawks, another team likely thinking about upgrading under center, probably won’t want to dish out assets to a division rival while taking on Garoppolo’s $25.5 post-trade salary.
Perhaps the Browns, in the wake of what happens with their new quarterback, Deshaun Watson, potentially receiving a hefty suspension amid off-field allegations of sexual misconduct emerge as trade partners.
But there’s a chance none emerge at all.
So, then what? Do the 49ers retain Garoppolo as an awfully expensive backup to Lance, at the very least, pushing the second-year pro in camp to actually earn the starting job? Or do the Niners look to avoid that same media circus that existed a year ago?
While the latter might be smarter, the Niners have continued to stubbornly play their hand with Garoppolo regardless, and if he’s still on the roster once camp is well underway, it’ll be a massive storyline that won’t subside at all.