Montana: Lance isn't ready, 49ers should stick with Jimmy G


Barring a stunning turn of events, Jimmy Garoppolo's tenure with the 49ers will come to an end this offseason with a trade to another team.

That will officially usher in the Trey Lance era, which unofficially began with the 49ers' NFC Championship Game loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

Garoppolo essentially said his goodbyes to 49ers fans on Feb. 1 during his end-of-season press conference, and general manager John Lynch told reporters that the team plans to keep the quarterback in the loop as they try to find a new home for him once the new league year starts.

There's no turning back now, right? Not if you ask arguably the greatest player in the history of the 49ers franchise.

Legendary 49ers quarterback Joe Montana wants the 49ers to pump the brakes on the transition from Garoppolo to Lance.

"I think you keep Jimmy until you find somebody else," Montana told The Ringer's Kevin Clark at Super Bowl Radio Row in Los Angeles this week. "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 [to the Super Bowl]."

Montana said that for now, he is pro-Garoppolo.

It's highly unlikely that Lynch and 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will take Montana's advice. They invested significant draft capital into trading up to pick Lance with the No. 3 overall selection last year, and they need to shed Garoppolo's salary in order to sign players like Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa to contract extensions. The hope for everyone involved is that Lance will be good enough to unlock the 49ers' offense in ways Garoppolo couldn't.

Publicly, 49ers players have been saying all the right things about Lance, but if they are privately telling Montana and others that the North Dakota State product isn't ready, that might be bad news for San Francisco.

RELATED: Eight veteran QB options to backup Trey Lance

For the sake of everyone involved with the 49ers' organization, if current players are downplaying Lance's ability to Montana, they have to hope the soon-to-be second-year pro can prove the doubters wrong.

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