Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan declines to name 49ers’ starting QB but does say this about Trey Lance

Mar 29, 2022 at 5:29 AM--

Looking for a definitive response to the question, "Will Trey Lance be the San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback in 2022?" You're not going to get one from head coach Kyle Shanahan. That's because he doesn't know how this Jimmy Garoppolo situation will play out.

Yes, the team is trying to trade Garoppolo and his over $25 million of due salary. But they may end up stuck with him if no one wants the veteran quarterback. So far, no one has wanted him. On Monday, general manager John Lynch revealed that the 49ers haven't received a firm offer from any team for Garoppolo.

Most felt Garoppolo would be gone by the start of the new league year on March 16. Then he underwent shoulder surgery. So that didn't happen. No one wanted a new quarterback who wasn't going to be able to throw until early July.

So here we are.

Shanahan spoke with reporters on Tuesday morning from the NFL owners meetings in Palm Beach, Florida ... absurdly early in the AM for us West Coast folks. The coach was asked if the natural progression is for Trey Lance to start in 2022.

"That's why we looked into trading Jimmy, because we obviously believe Trey can be a starter, and we're ready to do that," Shanahan responded. "But if we can't upgrade our team in another way, we're not going to just get rid of a good quarterback because we have other quarterbacks on the roster. Quarterbacks are really hard to come by. Some teams don't have any at all. And the fact that we have three that we're happy with, that is a good thing."

Shanahan added, "We brought Trey to be [the starter] eventually, and I think that will be sooner than later."

That seems to point toward a "yes" without committing fully to the 21-year-old Lance. Reporters further pressed Shanahan to name his starting quarterback. Is it last year's No. 3 overall draft pick, Lance?

"That's a funny question," Shanahan responded. "I haven't thought about it at all yet. ... We haven't done a roster yet. We probably will never announce a starter because I don't think I ever have, ever. I'm going to keep that going."

That sounds about right. Shanahan frustratingly refused to officially announce his starter last season until Week 1. Everyone knew it was Garoppolo, but the words never actually came out of Shanahan's mouth. Instead, Garoppolo slipped up and revealed he was the starter just days before kickoff.

Shanahan added that the 49ers haven't made a call on what it might look like if Garoppolo and Lance are on the roster. Shanahan believes there is a scenario in which Garoppolo remains with San Francisco in 2022. The coach isn't worried about what that might mean for Lance. After all, there was a recent report from ESPN's Jeremy Fowler that Lance has gotten the "full impression behind the scenes that he will start in 2022."

"Trey's not an insecure guy," Shanahan said. "I think the situation makes sense, so there's nothing sneaky going on about it. And he's confident. He's going to come in and focus on playing football, focus on beating whoever out he has to, whether it's [Garoppolo] or whether it's Nate [Sudfeld]. He's going to come in and be the best he can be."

He also admitted that Garoppolo's March 8 shoulder surgery is responsible for putting trade talks on hold.

"Any time anyone gets surgery, especially on their throwing shoulder, teams are going to be a little more nervous on what they want to offer and things like that," Shanahan said. "I think that did put it on hold, and we're all right with that. We went through the free-agent period, so we had to make some adjustments to do some things like that. But we've got him on the books right now. We'll keep it that way until something else can improve us."

So now, fans continue to wait. There is no resolution to the 49ers' quarterback conundrum today, and there probably won't be one until Garoppolo is shipped out—if that actually happens.

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