The 49ers' quarterback situation is as big of a question mark as it has been all season long.
It appears that Jimmy Garoppolo will start Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7 with rookie Trey Lance still recovering from a knee injury.
Would Garoppolo have started regardless of Lance's availability? Probably, as coach Kyle Shanahan has openly committed to Garoppolo starting if healthy.
With Garoppolo likely to return as the starter, it appears that Lance would only start again in the event of another Garoppolo injury, poor performance, or a trade. With the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline less than two weeks away, NBC Sports NFL analyst Peter King explained why the 49ers will have trouble finding a trade partner for the $24 million quarterback.
"Teams are going to avoid Jimmy Garoppolo for a very simple reason," King told 95.7 The Game's Damon & Ratto on Tuesday. "He makes a crapload of money, and the salary cap is in purgatory right now. The salary cap is trouble for everybody. "You saw what happened when Stephon Gilmore went from New England to Carolina, and New England only got a 2023 sixth-round pick in return. You know what that was? It was a salary dump because the Carolina Panthers had the money to cover it. There are not many teams in the NFL that can cover a salary-cap dump like that right now."
Garoppolo has missed extended time in two of the previous three seasons. In his absence, the 49ers have struggled mightily at the QB position. With Garoppolo now healthy, or close to it, he offers San Francisco stability at the position, something King believes the team values over the risks that may come with starting a rookie.
"First of all, I don't think the Niners are going to trade him right now because this is an important year for John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan," King said. "In my opinion, the way I sort of look at this season for them is they've got to do the right thing at the quarterback position, and they've got to make sure that they're ready to know who their quarterback is. "But, what has gotten them in trouble two of the last three years, when they've gotten in trouble late in the year, and that is Jimmy Garoppolo has gotten hurt, and they have not had the kind of quarterback depth that they can go and win big games with late in the year. And that's why I think they didn't trade Jimmy Garoppolo."
Until Garoppolo's health or performance become a long-term concern for the 49ers, the team might have no choice but to hang on to him.