Joe Montana Says 49ers Should Keep Jimmy Garoppolo: Trey Lance Isn't Ready Yet

Adam WellsFebruary 11, 2022

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 29: Jimmy Garoppolo #10 and Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers talk to each other on the sidelines before their preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Levi's Stadium on August 29, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

A legendary San Francisco 49ers quarterback thinks the team would be making a mistake if they move on from Jimmy Garoppolo this offseason. 

Speaking to The Ringer's Kevin Clark, Joe Montana said (0:40 mark) he believes the 49ers should keep Garoppolo because Trey Lance isn't ready to be the starter yet. 

"I think they keep Jimmy until you find somebody else," Montana said. "I don't think Trey's ready to play yet, myself, and after talking to some of the players. It's one of those things that, if you can keep Jimmy healthy, he plays well enough to get you here."

Kevin Clark @bykevinclark

The first in-person Slow News Day in 23 months is here, and it's great. Hall of Famer Joe Montana on Jimmy G/Trey Lance, he can't figure out his TV, he thinks Joe Burrow is going to win the Super Bowl, how to save money on Irish jumping horses and much more. <a href="https://t.co/Mo9vsMM7AN">pic.twitter.com/Mo9vsMM7AN</a>

After the 49ers' season ended with a 20-17 loss to the Los Angeles Rams in the NFC Championship Game, Garoppolo seemed to acknowledge during a Feb. 1 press conference that his time with the organization was coming to an end:

"We've talked a little bit, I think more will happen in the days to come but yeah these guys have been very upfront about the whole thing. Was talking to John (Lynch) yesterday just about finding the right destination and whatever the future holds, just doing it the right way. Got a long career ahead of me so I'm excited about it, excited about the opportunities to come.
"I just want to go to a place where they want to win, that's really what I'm in this game for. I'm here to play football, I'm here to win football games and as long as I got that and good people around me, I think the rest will take care of itself."

Head coach Kyle Shanahan hasn't completely shut the door on Garoppolo being with the team in 2022. 

"There's a lot of good options there," Shanahan told reporters. "A lot of cards are on the table."

San Francisco's best success in the past five years has come when Garoppolo has been the starting quarterback. The team has a 31-14 record in games he has started since 2017, compared to 8-28 without him during that span. 

Despite the 49ers' record with Garoppolo, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch took steps to get better play at quarterback last offseason. 

The 49ers traded four draft picks, including the No. 12 pick in 2021 and first-rounders in 2022 and 2023, to the Miami Dolphins for the No. 3 pick in 2021. They used that pick to select Lance. 

Lance started two games this season when Garoppolo was out with injuries. He threw for 603 yards, five touchdowns and completed 57.7 percent of his attempts in six games overall. 

Garoppolo threw for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns and completed 68.3 percent of his attempts in 15 starts during the 2021 regular season. 

San Francisco has reached the NFC Championship Game in two of the past three seasons. The 2019 team advanced to the Super Bowl before losing 31-20 to the Kansas City Chiefs.