Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Peter King has 49ers at No. 10 in power rankings, predicts Garoppolo-Lance outcome

May 23, 2022 at 9:50 AM--

A year ago, Peter King of NBC Sports listed the San Francisco 49ers at No. 5 within his offseason power rankings. Head coach Kyle Shanahan's squad dropped five spots this offseason despite coming off an NFC Championship Game appearance.

Why the drop from last year's position? For King, it has to do with some questions about the roster. Two of the most prominent offseason uncertainties can be found within the quarterback and wide receiver groups.

While Jimmy Garoppolo helped guide the 49ers to their second NFC title appearance in three seasons, the team reportedly hopes to trade the veteran quarterback before Week 1. Whether they can or not remains to be seen. The number of quarterback-needy teams has dwindled since the start of the offseason.

The options are limited, and the 49ers may be relying on an injury elsewhere to spark interest in their quarterback. However, Garoppolo is recovering himself from March 8 shoulder surgery and won't be medically cleared to throw again until late next month or early July.

While Garoppolo has been a serviceable quarterback, King notes, "[Shanahan] wants a mobile quarterback scaring teams with his arm first and feet second."

He potentially got that with last year's trade to move up in the draft to select Trey Lance. There have been reports that the 49ers have been concerned with the second-year quarterback's readiness to lead the offense. However, the team has expressed nothing but confidence in its 22-year-old signal-caller.

While the 49ers tried to trade Garoppolo before the surgery stalled all discussions, the veteran remaining on the roster hasn't helped the questions surrounding the team's confidence in Lance.

"But if Lance had shown all the signs Shanahan needed to see by now, we wouldn't be having this discussion," wrote King. "The Niners would have granted Garoppolo his freedom if they couldn't trade him."

Of course, this narrative ignores other factors. First, the 49ers would prefer to get something for Garoppolo. The team may be salary-cap strapped right now, but they are managing, even with the veteran quarterback still on the roster. Also, if they were to release Garoppolo, he would be free to sign with anyone, including the quarterback-needy Seattle Seahawks—a division rival.

Then you have Samuel. News broke before the draft that the disgruntled wide receiver had halted contract extension talks and requested to be traded. Of course, the 49ers didn't trade their do-it-all star and hope to mend their relationship with the wideout.

"The 49ers are doing the right thing in this offseason, letting the Samuel situation cool down after he requested a trade, and letting Lance be The Man in offseason quarterback work while Garoppolo recovers from shoulder surgery," King wrote. "Clearly, they think they can make Samuel a long-term Niner in time for the start of the season. If they can, they obviously should; he's the best rushing/receiving weapon in football and no one else is close in production and electricity."

What is King forecasting for this offseason's 49ers storylines?

"My guess: Samuel will be a Niner this year," King predicted. "Lance will start opening day. Garoppolo will hang around because Shanahan and GM John Lynch know the defense is so good they could win with Garoppolo if Lance spits the bit."

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