Oh dear, it really hasn't been the best of starts to the season for San Francisco, has it? They sit on a 1-2 record, playing rather shoddy football, and, even before losing Trey Lance to a season-ending injury, there were massive question marks over their quarterback depth. 

Here we look at whether or not the need to bring in a new face.

The Quarterback Debate

There is no getting away from it, losing Trey Lance to a major ankle ligament injury is a significant blow to the 49ers and he will be a miss for them but—and this is important to stress—they were far from sorted in the quarterback role before that Seattle Seahawks game. 

Even in the preseason, there was a split opinion amongst fans. Jimmy Garoppolo has been sound enough to see San Fran make the playoffs in the past but ultimately he and his teammates always came up short when it mattered. 

When that happens, it is natural that your key role players take the brunt of the criticism and that's what happened to Garoppolo. 

The unknown then becomes better as default and, especially when the new face is a highly-rated rookie like Lance, the calls for change in the team grow louder and more frequent. 

Those calls reached a fever pitch during the preseason with the vast majority of fans favoring Lance over Garoppolo and the coaching team agreed.

Lance started the opening game of the campaign against the Chicago Bears but delivered an opinion-splitting performance. 

His throwing game was so-so with no passing touchdowns and one interception was thrown. Where he caught the eye though was with his desire to rush as demonstrated by the 13 attempts made in that opening game. 

The third overall pick from last year's NFL Draft didn't have time to impress in his second outing and although the 49ers won, they were led to that victory by a familiar face—Garappolo. 

With Garappolo capable but uninspiring—and with Lance missing out on a key period of learning and development—the question remains as to what the 49ers do. 

Current Options

Longer term, it's probably safe to say that Lance will be the 49ers' starting quarterback; you don't take a first-round draft pick to just cast him aside due to an injury. What happens around him is the real question.

Garoppolo will take over as the starter now, which will probably have an impact on the way their NFL point spreads look with the bookies, and may well remain there for the season barring injury with Brock Purdy seemingly not in the conversation. 

The trouble is, there is a very real chance of Garoppolo not being in San Francisco next season, which means Lance will basically be a rookie in his second season with nobody to learn from. 

Of course, the 49ers might try and convince Garoppolo to hang around but based on what happened against the Broncos last night. 

That just writes another year off before things have even begun with this season bumbling along to a drab and unfulfilling end before next season becomes the emergence of Lance. 

It's all very "blue sky," not particularly in keeping with the real world and certainly won’t have the fans excited. 

Will the 49ers Bring in a New Quarterback?

The other option the 49ers have around their quarterback struggles is to go out and recruit somebody else. 

Whilst this feels unlikely at the moment with Garoppolo an adequate if not sensational backup, there have to be discussions taking place behind the scenes because an injury to Garoppolo—big or small—leaves the 49ers really short. He doesn’t have a great track record of staying fit either.

With that in mind, who could they look to bring to San Francisco? We already know that Kurt Benkert has been added to their practice squad for further backup and the other options out there just aren’t that exciting. 

Most of the talented depth quarterbacks are in the NFC, which makes doing a deal harder as it could come back to bite the trading side as the conference standings take shape.

When you weigh all that up, a trade might be needed but it doesn’t look likely. Instead, the 49ers will be going with a QB three of Garoppolo, Purdy, and Benkert for the season.

How Will the 49ers Shape Up?

For this season as a standalone year, you could probably argue that the 49ers are just as strong as they were, which means they will not embarrass themselves but, equally, won’t be celebrating much come to the end of the campaign. 

Longer term, it’s a real problem with Garopollo likely to leave and Lance being so inexperienced. 

We wouldn’t want to be Kyle Shanahan!


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