In the event you somehow thought the San Francisco 49ers were even remotely considering starting Jimmy Garoppolo in 2022, think again. The writing has been on the wall ever since the organization used their third-overall pick on Trey Lance in 2021, emboldened by another disappointing end to the season and a shoulder injury to Garoppolo, but head coach Kyle Shanahan has effectively put the kibosh on any chance you'll ever again see Garoppolo take the field as QB1 for the Niners.
"I think our team's ready for Trey, going through OTAs," Shanahan told The Athletic at the start of training camp. "I'm just pumped to get to work -- provide him some practices because I know the kid has the abilities, made of the right stuff, he just needs the reps."
Lance logged just two starts in his rookie season, throwing five touchdowns to two interceptions.
Garoppolo remains on the mend and likely on his way out of San Francisco soon, possibly via trade, but while Shanahan readily admits that era is over in the Bay Area, he wants Garoppolo to understand their time together won't be forgotten -- a stretch that included putting the Kansas City Chiefs on the ropes in Super Bowl LIV before losing due to a fourth-quarter surge by Patrick Mahomes.
"We had an awesome run with Jimmy. It was great," said Shanahan. "But when you bring in a salary cap and things like that, there are so many tough decisions that you have to make, and we made [it] a year ago. And we got to here and I was so happy [with] how Jimmy played last year, that he took us almost to the Super Bowl, got healthy and guys around him played real well."
Garoppolo is set to hit the 49ers salary cap for $26.95 million in 2022, and the team isn't willing to take the hit, knowing they drafted his successor in Lance and are now ready to unleash him completely.
"This is something that we did last year knowing where we wanted to go with this franchise," Shanahan said. "And how you balance out a salary cap, how you balance out a roster, and Jimmy gave Trey a year that I thought he needed just to get used to this league, get his feet wet a little bit."