The San Francisco 49ers made a bold move this offseason by making a change at the quarterback position. After having Jimmy Garoppolo under center the last few seasons as the starter, they have decided to turn the offense over to Trey Lance.
Lance was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft and certainly has a much higher ceiling than Garoppolo given the athleticism and big-play ability he will bring to the offense. But, the one area that Garoppolo excelled in is winning. At the end of the day, that is the most important stat to NFL teams and he delivered.
There will be a good amount of pressure on Lance to replicate that level of success. Garoppolo has led the team to the NFC Championship game twice in the last three years, reaching the Super Bowl once. San Francisco has a roster that can compete for a Super Bowl as they are loaded with talent on both sides of the ball.
With Lance being named the starter, the team shopped Garoppolo on the trade market. Nothing materialized, so they restructured his deal to pay him a salary that backup quarterbacks make as he was earning a starter’s salary.
That was a move that reportedly annoyed Lance, but in the opinion of Shannon Sharpe, Lance has no one to blame but himself. That is why the Hall of Famer ripped into Lance during a recent episode of Undisputed on FS1.
In Sharpe’s opinion, the 49ers’ decision to restructure Garoppolo’s contract isn’t because no team wanted to trade for him. Instead, Sharpe believes it is because the franchise isn’t sold on Lance being able to elevate this team to the heights they are hoping he can.
Sharpe does make some good points when it comes to the decision. Normally, when the keys are handed over to a young guy, a franchise will turn the page completely on the former starter. Keeping him as a backup rarely occurs as they want to make the young player as comfortable as possible.
That is easier to do when you are a rebuilding team that can afford their quarterback to go through some growing pains. When you are in a position to compete, such as the 49ers, they cannot take that risk.
Retaining Garoppolo as a backup makes all of the sense in the world if they are not yet sold on Trey Lance being able to lead a team with Super Bowl aspirations.