Chris Simms: Prominent 49ers want Jimmy Garoppolo over Trey Lance

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

According to NFL reporter and former quarterback Chris Simms, there are prominent people in the 49ers locker room who want Jimmy Garoppolo over Trey Lance.

Chris Simms is hardly the only one stirring the pot. In fact, there are some major voices saying the same thing. Either way, it’s notable that the NFL reporter says he has sources pointing to the San Francisco 49ers locker room who are hungry for the team to go with veteran Jimmy Garoppolo as the starting quarterback over second-year prospect Trey Lance.

The Lance-Garoppolo saga has been the story of the offseason, but the Niners’ brass decided to allow it to carry into the regular season as well when they refused to release or trade Garoppolo any time in the last several months. Perhaps their hands were tied to an extent given that Garoppolo sought offseason surgery and didn’t help the team in that regard, but they could have turned the page by releasing him and giving the keys to Lance after a year of adjustment from the college ranks. Instead, they brought back Garoppolo on a restructured one-year deal that allowed his shadow to loom over Lance once again.

After the first week of the NFL season, 49ers are already reaping the results of seeds sown.

Lance looked like an overwhelmed rookie in his first start of the season, and a high-octane offense only put up 10 points on the road at Soldier Field against a Chicago Bears team that was expected to compete for the top pick in the draft rather than an NFC North division title. The Niners lost by 9. Given that they tanked against this season’s easiest opponent, it’s easy to understand why talking heads are wondering how long the 49ers will back Lance.

Earlier this week, former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton stated that the Niners will turn to Garoppolo at some point. On Tuesday, former NFL quarterback and current reporter Chris Simms basically said the same thing. However, he also pointed out that he knows sources who believe some “prominent” figures want Jimmy G. over Lance. Here’s what Simms had to say via NBC Sports:

“They are a Super Bowl football team. To do justice to your organization, your fan base, and more importantly to your football team, the guys in the locker room, you’ve gotta play the best players. And I think there are guys, I’ve heard through the grapevine that there are guys in that locker room who go, “Jimmy G is the best player.”

“I don’t want to call people out here, but I’ve heard from people I know around the NFL that go, ‘Yeah, there are prominent people in the 49ers locker room that go, ‘Jimmy G. is better.’” So that’s a real thing.”

This is all on the Niners. When a team turns the corner at the most important position, they have to be all-in. There should be complete organizational belief in a player or else they shouldn’t make the move in the first place. Recall when the Chiefs switched from Alex Smith to Patrick Mahomes. They kept Mahomes sitting for one year and then traded Smith to the Washington Football Team the day before the Super Bowl. In other words, the Chiefs didn’t even allow a single day of the offseason to pass with two potential starters on the roster. Thus, they cleared the sky over Mahomes immediately and kept clouds from ever rolling in.

At this point the Niners have options, but they also have drama. Maybe that’s how they wanted it and maybe it’s worth the questions to have a backup like Garoppolo. But in the end, the distractions might be the very thing that stymies Lance’s progress—a franchise shooting its best bet in the foot.