The 49ers have already installed plays and sequences for rookie quarterback Trey Lance, sources said, with Jimmy Garoppolo aware that his weeks as the starting quarterback could be numbered based on the youngster's progress.
There was never much doubt that Jimmy G would be the opening day starter, but Lance has continued to wow the staff with his development and remarkable high-ceiling potential, and coach Kyle Shanahan will begin tapping into that Week 1. Lance dealt with a hand issue the last two weeks but did not show up on the final injury report and the staff has confidence in his ability to execute packages that accentuate his athleticism.
The 49ers' offseason was dominated by the quarterback machinations that ultimately led to them selecting Lance despite him barely playing last season for North Dakota State. While the mystery of those moves dominated the NFL media chatter at times, with Garoppolo's future a major talking point, sources said Shanahan maintained a solid relationship with Garoppolo through the process and things never got acrimonious.
It's not lost on Garoppolo that his hold on the starting job could wane, even if he plays solid football ("Jimmy gets it," as one source put it), and there still could be a win/win of sorts for the veteran quarterback and the team.
"After about three or four games you'll probably see Trey on the field even more and things trending that way," said one source. "It will probably trend in that direction, while the early games basically showcase Jimmy for a possible trade."
The 49ers originally acquired Garoppolo, 29, via trade from the Patriots in 2017 and he is currently signed through 2022, making roughly $25M each of the next two seasons.
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