Lynch says Lance will get his chance to show what he's got


INDIANAPOLIS -- While there is still plenty of intrigue about what is next for Jimmy Garoppolo, there does not seem to be much doubt about the role Trey Lance will have for the 2022 season.

John Lynch, the 49ers’ general manager, spoke Wednesday on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football about how Lance’s showings on the practice field will lead to him taking over as the starter.

“He definitely had his ‘wow’ moments,” Lynch said. “You could see the development, the confidence. You’re on scout team, and oftentimes you’re asked to go ahead and throw this ball in there. But then he would and it would actually get in there.

“He attacked it the right way. I keep talking about his mental capabilities. He can handle a lot. I think he’s just got that makeup that the great ones do. We can only hope he can be Patrick Mahomes or anything close to that, and he’s going to get his chance to go show that.”

The 49ers traded up to No. 3 overall to select Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft. He started two games as a rookie in place of Garoppolo, who missed games due to calf and thumb injuries. The Kansas City Chiefs in 2018 went with Mahomes, a second-year player who played sparingly as a rookie. Kansas City traded away starter Alex Smith to create room for Mahomes to take over.

The 49ers plan to follow that same path with Garoppolo. However, Garoppolo's physical condition has complicated matters.

Garoppolo made the decision in recent days to undergo surgery to repair a capsule in the back of his right shoulder. Lynch said the surgery -- and the expected four months of physical therapy to follow — has not weakened Garoppolo’s trade market.

"That situation's active, it's fluid," Lynch said from the NFL Scouting Combine. "You're here, a lot of teams have interest in him."

The 49ers have a number of reasons to move on from Garoppolo this offseason. This is the final year Garoppolo is under contract, so it’s the only time they can get something in return for him. The 49ers will save $25.5 million against the salary cap, and that is money they can redistribute to such players as Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa.

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But the biggest reason is that Lynch suggested he and coach Kyle Shanahan believe Lance is ready.

"It's pretty obvious, we put a lot into Trey Lance," Lynch said. "We're loving the development of Trey. Trey had an outstanding first year. A lot of people say, 'How can you say this, you know? He barely played.' But the development was tremendous. I think Kyle did a great job of finding ways to develop without playing a ton of football on Sundays.

"I tell people he's everything we thought he was when we traded a lot to go get him -- and more. And, you know, I really believe that."

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