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Why Jimmy Garoppolo, not Trey Lance, Should be the 49ers Starting Quarterback to Begin the 2021 Season

Rohan Chakravarthi
May 29, 2021 at 12:00 PM


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San Francisco's offseason was headlined by the NFL Draft, during which it selected quarterback Trey Lance with the third overall pick.

Out of North Dakota State, Lance is still developing as a thrower with accuracy, and should not be thrown in immediately as the starting quarterback.

Incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo has been a valuable starter for the 49ers when healthy, as he has gone 24–9, including 2–1 in the playoffs.

However, Garoppolo has not always been healthy, as he tore his ACL during the 2018 season, and ankle injuries limited him to six games last season.

Still, his impact has been irreplaceable, as other 49ers starters, being it Nick Mullens or C.J. Beathard, have gone 6–17 during that same period of time.

Trey Lance can undoubtedly become a better option for the 49ers at one point in his career, but with a reliable starter when healthy, there is no need to rush Lance onto the field.

Despite drafting Lance and publicly stating they would draft a quarterback, the 49ers have operated this offseason with the assumption that Garoppolo will be on the roster to begin the season.

In multiple press conferences, Shanahan has reiterated that Garoppolo will be their starting quarterback, and even went as far to state that it will be hard for Lance to beat out the current starter for the starting job.

Despite many hopefuls begging for Garoppolo to be cut for cap reasons, at this point, he gives the 49ers the best chance to win football games on Sundays, and can be the perfect bridge quarterback to the rookie Trey Lance.

One of Garoppolo's strengths has been accuracy, as he threw for a 69% completion rate in 2019, and a 67% completion rate in his shortened 2020.

More importantly, the 49ers should be more inclined to keep the quarterback in order to increase his trade value before shipping him off next season. While his salary remains high, another good season from the starter could result in a valuable return, which is needed for a team devoid of draft capital.

At the moment, the market is nonexistent for the quarterback, with many teams content with their current options, so it would not be wise to try and move him now, but rather wait till next year to get value for Garoppolo.

In the meantime, with a schedule consisting of favorable teams, but also a fair share of playoff-caliber teams, Garoppolo should be able to produce as a starter and his experience will certainly help the 49ers on their playoff push.

While Trey Lance would definitely open up the playbook for Kyle Shanahan, there have been one too many times when rookie quarterbacks were thrust into the spotlight too early, and failed to develop because of it.

Just look at Josh Rosen. Hell, you could even consider Mitchell Trubisky. Both of these quarterbacks started immediately, and were thrust into the spotlight before having time to refine mistakes.

Especially in COVID times when quarterbacks may not have as much access to coaches, teammates, and facilities as they typically would, it is very important for the 49ers to hit on their draft pick, and the best way to do so is to wait for Lance to be ready, be it this season or next, and have Jimmy Garoppolo start the 2021 season as the starting quarterback.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


1 Comment

  • Angelos
    Do not worry and panic. Shannahan already said it will be a competition. Whomever wins is the starter. Trainning camp and mini camp is most likely not enough for Trey to push Jimmy out. Unless Jimmy falters via health or performance, the job is his. Trey still needs time even though he is going to surpasss Jimmys best day, one day.
    May 29, 2021 at 1:26 PM
    0

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