The 49ers knew who their starter was for 2022 the day they drafted Trey Lance. The No. 3 overall choice in 2021 waited his turn as a rookie, playing only six games behind Jimmy Garoppolo.
Garoppolo remains on the roster — for now — but the 49ers’ present and future are in Lance’s hands.
“We had an awesome run with Jimmy. It was great,” coach Kyle Shanahan told Tim Kawakami of TheAthletic.com, via 49erswebzone.com. “But when you bring in a salary cap and things like that, there are so many tough decisions that you have to make and we made [that decision] a year ago. And we got to here and I was so happy [with] how Jimmy played last year, that he took us almost to the Super Bowl, got healthy [and] guys around him played real well. But this is something that we did last year knowing where we wanted to go with this franchise and how you balance out a salary cap, how you balance out a roster, and Jimmy gave Trey a year that I thought he needed just to get used to this league, get his feet wet a little bit.”
With Garoppolo rehabbing from shoulder surgery, Lance took all the first-team reps in the offseason program. 49ers players and coaches have raved about Lance and expressed their confidence in him.
Ready or not, Lance will start for the 49ers with no safety net once they trade or cut Garoppolo.
But Lance will have plenty of help behind him with a team of stars that made the NFC Championship Game last season.
“I think our team’s ready for Trey, going through OTAs,” Shanahan said. “I’m just pumped to get to work [and] provide him some practices because I know the kid has the abilities, made of the right stuff, he just needs the reps.”