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Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance Not Engaged in 'Open Competition' for 49ers QB Job

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 27, 2021

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 01: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up before taking on the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field on November 01, 2020 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday that Jimmy Garoppolo is not competing with rookie Trey Lance for the top spot on the quarterback depth chart to begin training camp.

"There's no open competition right now," Shanahan told reporters, noting Garoppolo is the Niners starter with Lance aiming to win the backup job over Josh Rosen and Nate Sudfeld.

Questions were raised about whether Garoppolo's run as the team's No. 1 QB was over after San Francisco invested the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft on Lance.

Instead, it appears Garoppolo will be given every opportunity to guide the Niners offense for at least one more season before the reins are handed to the North Dakota State product, who's yet to sign his rookie contract.

Garoppolo has completed 67.5 percent of his throws for 7,352 yards with 46 touchdowns and 26 interceptions across four years with San Francisco. The 49ers are 22-8 in his 30 starts.

"When [the Lance pick] initially happened, there's a million emotions that go on throughout your head. You think of all the possible scenarios and things like that. But at the end of the day I want to play football, I want to go out there and win gamesβ€”it's what I do," Garoppolo told reporters in May.

Lance surged up draft boards with his tremendous 2019 season at North Dakota State as he racked up 28 passing touchdowns without an interception. He also tallied 14 rushing scores.

He played just one game in 2020 because COVID-19 protocols shifted the Bison's season to the spring, so he attempted just 318 passes in college. A year of seasoning while working as Garoppolo's backup could help his development for the long run.

That said, don't be surprised if the calls for Lance to take over the offense grow loud if the veteran signal-caller struggles at any point during the 2021 campaign. It's rare for a top-five pick to spend much time on the sideline in the modern era.

The Niners open the preseason Aug. 14 against the Kansas City Chiefs and kick off the regular season Sept. 12 when they visit the Detroit Lions.