Will Trey Lance leapfrog Jimmy Garoppolo before Week One?
The 49ers made a huge move up in the draft to get quarterback Trey Lance. They’ve continued to cling to the notion that Jimmy Garoppolo is the starter.
Coach Kyle Shanahan continues to push the notion that the situation hasn’t changed, but he declines to name Garoppolo the Week One starter. It’s almost as if Shanahan is waiting for the right answer to reveal itself, and it hasn’t. But it still could.
Lance had ups and downs on Sunday night. The question becomes whether Shanahan thinks he can engineer more highs than lows in the first two games of the season, at Detroit and Philadelphia. Those are winnable games regardless of whether Garoppolo, Lance, Nate Sudfeld, or Shanahan himself play quarterback.
So why not let Lance get his feet wet in a pair of likely victories? Then, when the Packers come to town for Sunday night in Week Three, Lance could be ready for a coming-out party -- carving up the Green Bay defense with his arms and his legs, the way Colin Kaepernick used to.
Here’s the reality. The 49ers have no reason to bench Garoppolo at this point, not with another week of preseason games to be played and multiple practices during which starting quarterbacks else can get injured. The 49ers could still get very lucky, through someone else getting very unlucky. A trade market could emerge at the eleventh hour.
Then there’s the possibility that the 49ers will approach Garoppolo with a request that he take less money, at a time when he’d be unable to match or beat whatever the 49ers offer on a reduced deal with another team. That way, the 49ers could save some money, keep Garoppolo, and eventually start Lance without have a $25 million backup holding a clipboard.
Or maybe, if they can’t trade him, they’ll just cut him and be done with it. The fact that they invested three first-round picks and a third-round pick in his replacement made it clear that they really want to be done with it.