49ers HC Kyle Shanahan said after Sunday's win over the Texans that QB Jimmy Garoppolo will start next weekend's regular-season finale if his thumb is back to 100%. But he also admitted that it'll be tough for Garoppolo to get to 100% by next Sunday. So it sure sounds like QB Trey Lance is the favorite to start vs. the Rams. The rookie disappointed with just 31 scoreless rushing yards today but delivered with 249 yards and 2 TDs passing.
Matt Barrows of The Athletic describes the “blockers in front of [Trey] Lance” as “question marks.” The real issue is along the interior, where nobody’s locked into a starting spot. Of note: C Alex Mack, 36, is questionable to return for another season. And reliable RG Laken Tomlinson signed with the Jets in free agency. The 49ers used a mid-round pick on UTSA OT/OG Spencer Burford, but he’s unlikely to make a year 1 impact. Lance remains a fringe QB1 with a wide range of outcomes.
ESPN's Jeremy Fowler hears that the 49ers are still planning to start QB Trey Lance this season. QB Jimmy Garoppolo remains of the roster as of now, at least in part because he's still recovering from shoulder surgery. "I'm told that [Lance has] gotten indications, at least informal indications from the team, that he'll be the guy next year. He's set to be that," Fowler said. "Now, whether that means that they would still keep Garoppolo and that could change the dynamic, possibly. But right now, Lance is going to be the starter." We're comfortable drafting as if Lance will be under center for San Francisco this year. And his ADP has actually sunk to QB13 recently, making him a nice value.
49ers QB Trey Lance "was probably further behind than people realized," according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. "Trey Lance is greener than people realize, Trey Lance is going to need more work than people realize." Schefter added that QB Jimmy Garoppolo is not a lock to get traded this offseason. "Garoppolo unquestionably is one of the most popular and respected players in your locker room. Players love playing with him. You have him under contract this year at a very friendly $25 million cap number. And if you play with him this year and you lose him after this year, you're going to get a third-round compensatory pick back in return. So are you better playing this season with Jimmy while getting Trey the training he still needs, or are you better trading Garoppolo for a two, a four and a six? What's the better alternative?" We're still expecting Garoppolo to be dealt this offseason and for Lance to be San Francisco's 2022 starter. But this is a reminder that that's not guaranteed -- and that there will likely be ups and downs for Lance if he does take over.
NFL insider Albert Breer writes that the 49ers “feel good about where they are with [Trey] Lance and are poised to hand him the reins.” Lance proved to be predictably raw in his limited 2021 action. But the 49ers' staff felt like he was “ascending” late in the season, per Breer. If Lance can even assemble a league-average passing performance, he'll carry top-10 fantasy upside into year 2. Note that he rushed 24 times for 120 yards in 2 starts. While Jimmy Garoppolo is currently under contract for 2022, San Francisco can cut or trade him with minimal cap repercussions.
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