49ers' Kyle Shanahan: 'We've Made It Clear' Trey Lance Is 'Our Guy of the Future'

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVNovember 24, 2021

JACKSONVILLE, FL - NOVEMBER 21: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) during the game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 21, 2021 at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Fl. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan reaffirmed the franchise's commitment to Trey Lance in response to a question about Jimmy Garoppolo's future in the Bay Area.

Shanahan didn't close the door on Garoppolo's return but said Lance "is our guy of the future." 

Tracy Sandler @49ersfangirl

"There's a chance for anything but I think we've made it clear that Trey is our guy of the future." Kyle Shanahan on whether Jimmy Garoppolo may still be on the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/49ers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#49ers</a> in 2022. <a href="https://t.co/8icfUraaMo">pic.twitter.com/8icfUraaMo</a>

Aaron Rodgers may have thrown a bit of a wrench into the Green Bay Packers' plans when he won an MVP in 2020. The franchise couldn't exactly kick him to the curb this offseason in favor of 2020 first-round pick Jordan Love.

The same thing isn't happening with Garoppolo. Over nine games, he has thrown for 2,112 yards, 12 touchdowns and five interceptions. His 234.7 yards per game are nearly equal to his career average with the Niners (236.6).

The 30-year-old is the better short-term option for San Francisco.

Lance has gone 25-of-48 for 354 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in his limited time under center. The rookie's struggles aren't unexpected considering he had only one full season of starting experience with North Dakota State at the FCS level and effectively missed the entire 2020 college football campaign.

The plan from the start was to lean on Garoppolo for 2021 and allow for Lance to have a gradual transition to the NFL.

The question facing San Francisco's front office is whether it trusts the 6'4" signal-caller enough to run the offense in 2022.

If the answer is no, then Garoppolo can see out the final year of his contract. He's due to hit free agency in 2023, so the two sides could have a clean break at that point.

Should the Niners be confident enough in Lance, moving on from Jimmy G is relatively easy as well. Releasing him would save $25.6 million and result in just $1.4 million in dead money, per Spotrac.