With the first practice of training camp looming, the 49ers have gotten rookie quarterback Trey Lance signed.
As training camps get going around the NFL in earnest, two first-round pick quarterbacks remained unsigned. On Wednesday morning, that number became one (No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson). According to his agents, the San Francisco 49ers have signed Trey Lance. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s a four-year, $34.1 million deal that is fully guaranteed.
When the 49ers moved up to the third overall pick in April’s draft, the speculation was rampant over which incoming quarterback head coach Kyle Shanahan had his eye on. Lance was a somewhat surprising choice, after playing one game in a truncated final college season at North Dakota State and with just one full season as a starter at the FCS level on his resume.
Lance will be theoretically competing with Jimmy Garoppolo for the starting job. But Shanahan has put the kibosh on that already.
Will Trey Lance see the field much as a rookie?
Garoppolo has a Super Bowl appearance on his resume. But that’s the only season in three full campaigns with the 49ers where he hasn’t missed at least 10 games, and 2021 will surely be his last in San Francisco.
There have been some indications Lance will see the field this season, independent of Garoppolo’s health, as a Taysom Hill-type. Shanahan isn’t going to say it’ll be an equal competition for the starting job during camp, lest he get asked about it incessantly every day and every move of both quarterbacks during practices be heavily scrutinized. But the idea Lance can beat out Garoppolo isn’t far-fetched, and with his contract done there will be no delay for him to get going in his preparation.
Garoppolo’s injury history says he’ll miss games this season, perhaps more than a few. But the 49ers have a better plan to replace him now, with Lance as their quarterback of the future and perhaps the present sooner than Shanahan wants to admit.