Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jerry Rice: “It’s time to move on” from Jimmy Garoppolo, allow 49ers’ Trey Lance to become a “superstar”

Aug 29, 2022 at 11:48 AM--

Years removed from playing in the NFL, Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice still closely follows the San Francisco 49ers, the team that made him the No. 16 overall draft pick in 1985. He has been keeping up with this offseason's storylines and went on 95.7 The Game this week to discuss the quarterback situation.

Second-year quarterback Trey Lance is headed into his first season as the full-time starter. The previous starter, Jimmy Garoppolo, appears to be in limbo—for now. Officially, he remains on the 49ers roster. However, he hasn't practiced with the team or participated in meetings. Instead, Garoppolo has been working on the side, preparing for the next chapter in his NFL journey.

Garoppolo is healthy again, nearly six months after his March 8 shoulder surgery. However, according to reports, there is no trade interest, and the 49ers have a decision to make. Do they hold onto their veteran quarterback and his salary, keeping him out of the hands of the Seattle Seahawks, and hope that a trade opportunity develops down the road? Or do they release Garoppolo before Week 1, freeing up his $24.2 million base salary?

With no interest likely to develop, Rice believes the 49ers made the right decision moving on from Garoppolo to Lance.

"I don't think there's any big suitors right now coming after Jimmy G," Rice said on The Morning Roast. "You would think, with what he has done, that you would have teams coming after him. So I'm thinking that the Niners made the right decision. It's time to move on.

"I think there's a good chance that he's still probably going to be on the roster [after Tuesday's roster cut-down deadline] unless something happens between Cleveland or Seattle. I think they already made the call in Seattle that Geno [Smith] is going to be the starting quarterback there."

Rice admits that having Garoppolo serve as Lance's backup wouldn't be bad. However, aspects of that scenario could make the situation uncomfortable. The first is Garoppolo's salary. It's just too high for a backup quarterback.

"No, it wouldn't be a bad thing," Rice admitted. "But I think with Trey, it's his time. He doesn't want to be looking over his shoulder because this guy, he's gonna have some adversity. There's gonna be some ups and downs. And if you've got a quarterback as the backup like Jimmy G, maybe he feels like, well, there's pressure there because Kyle Shanahan might decide to go back to Jimmy G."

As for Lance, Rice has a lot of faith in the 22-year-old quarterback, knowing that he has the potential to be great.

"They invested a lot into Trey Lance, so it's time for [him] to put it on the field," Rice shared. "And I think that's basically it. I think with Kyle Shanahan [and] John Lynch, they felt like it was time to just give him complete control. Now, it's up to Trey Lance to go out there and prove to everybody, 'Hey, look, I really deserve this starting job, and I'm going to lead my team.'"

Rice added: "I'm interested to see how Kyle Shanahan is going to put this together for Trey Lance, where he doesn't feel the pressure, where he can just go out and play football, where we can have him healthy the entire season. And if all of that should happen, I think we're going to have a fantastic season. It's going to be exciting seeing this young kid just become a superstar."


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