Jimmy Garoppolo Was Always in 49ers' Plans Despite Drafting Trey Lance, GM Says

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIIMay 1, 2021

FILE - In this Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020 file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo passes against the Seattle Seahawks during the first half of an NFL football game in Seattle. Jimmy Garoppolo isn't expected to take another snap this season for the San Francisco 49ers as a pair of high ankle sprains derailed most of his campaign.(AP Photo/Scott Eklund, File)
Scott Eklund/Associated Press

The San Francisco 49ers didn't stray from the plan when they decided to draft North Dakota State quarterback Trey Lance at No. 3 overall Thursday despite Jimmy Garoppolo still being on the roster, general manager John Lynch told reporters Saturday.

"That was our preference to draft a QB and keep Jimmy, provided somebody didn't come and blow us away [with a trade offer]," Lynch said.

Questions about Garoppolo's future were raised when the 49ers decided to trade up with the Miami Dolphins, moving from No. 12 to No. 3 in a quarterback-heavy draft class. 

The team is ready to shoulder the burden of Garoppolo's $24 million salary in addition to the $35.1 million value of the No. 3 overall pick, which carries a $6.39 million hit against the 2021 cap, according to Spotrac

Garoppolo's future felt even more uncertain Monday, when head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that he couldn't "guarantee that anybody in the world will be alive Sunday" when he was asked if the former New England Patriot would still be on the roster after the draft. 

But he got some reassurance Thursday, when he told reporters "it would be very hard" to envision the team without Garoppolo. 

That makes sense considering the small sample size that Lance brings with him to the pros. Lance, who turns 21 on May 9, made just 17 starts for the FCS North Dakota State program. Garoppolo was reportedly involved in the process as the team explored its options at quarterback.

The 29-year-old didn't seem to be intimidated by the pick, as he was the first person to reach out to the rookie when he was drafted, Lynch said Friday. 

"Trey was here today, and Trey told us that the first text he got was from Jimmy Garoppolo," he said. "So that's pretty special. I think it speaks to his class."

Similarly, Lance didn't assume that he would immediately slot in to a starting role, telling reporters that he planned on "learning as much as I can."