Jimmy Garoppolo has played some of the most efficient football of his NFL career in recent weeks, but that apparently doesn't mean the 49ers' long-term plans have changed.
NFL Media's Ian Rapoport said Sunday morning that the organization's plans still are to start Trey Lance next season and seek a trade destination for Garoppolo.
"Allow me to shut that door. Absent a Super Bowl run, which at this point is still theoretically possible, this is the 49ers' plan next season: Start Trey Lance, trade Jimmy Garoppolo," Rapoport said on NFL Network's "NFL GameDay Morning." "Not a surprise there, they've been pretty up front about that. What Garoppolo is doing now is increasing the value of picks the 49ers get in a trade involving him and make it more likely that a place he wants to go would want to take him."
Rapoport was responding to Kyle Shanahan comments earlier this week about Garoppolo's future with the 49ers.
“There's a chance for anything, but I think we've made it pretty clear that Trey is our guy of the future -- whenever that happens,” the 49ers coach said Wednesday.
“But it’s also nothing against Jimmy that we took him [Lance]. We do believe Trey will our guy for the future. And like I said, I think it would be really hard if Jimmy’s on it for him [Lance] to beat him out right away. So, it’s kind of going like that right now. And we’re not getting much past that.”
Garoppolo also said he didn't want to completely rule out his return in 2022, but would like to remain focused on the 49ers' goals for this season.
“Honestly, with the possibilities, I try not to close any doors too early,” he said. “It’s one of those situations where you got to let it play out, I think.
“We got a lot going on with the season right now. You start thinking about those other things, you just get distracted. When we cross that bridge, we’ll assess everything then.”
Garoppolo has been the NFL's most efficient passer over the past four weeks by a substantive margin, and the 49ers have won three of four to jump back into the playoff conversation.
Lance has seen limited action in his rookie season, with only one start and just 116 total snaps over five games played.
The up-and-down performances of the other four quarterbacks drafted in the first round last April likely have reinforced to Shanahan and 49ers general manager John Lynch that they made the right decision in keeping Lance mostly sidelined and starting Garoppolo.
The one caveat Rapoport mentioned is that a Super Bowl run could change things. That remains a possibility, especially if the 49ers can beat the Minnesota Vikings in a critical Week 12 showdown. So, unless the 49ers hoist the Lombardi Trophy in February at SoFi Stadium, expect the Lance era to begin in the 2022 season.