NFC Notes: 49ers, Aaron Rodgers, Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance



Who knows how long the 49ers will actually keep QB Jimmy Garoppolo after drafting QB Trey Lance No. 3 overall. They claim they’re fine keeping him through the final year of his deal to try and compete for a Super Bowl but some wonder if that’s a sell job to try and create a trade market for Garoppolo. If it is a sell job, 49ers GM John Lynch and HC Kyle Shanahan sold it to owner Jed York too, as he signed off on paying Garoppolo’s $24.1 million base salary this year. 

“That’s first and foremost,” Lynch said via Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer. “Really, that started crystallizing when we decided to make that trade. ‘We want to make this trade, but we also have another ask.’ And he was like, ‘O.K.?’ And Jed was like, ‘All right, do it if you think that’s the right thing.’ …And he backed it 100% because he wants to win. We felt that gave us the best chance to win. I think people sometimes get cynical and say why didn’t you commit 100% to [keeping Garoppolo]? Because you never know what’s going to happen. What if someone came here and said, ‘We’ll give you six ones?’”

Aaron Rodgers

49ers HC Kyle Shanahan said he called Packers HC Matt Lafleur about QB Aaron Rodgers‘ status, and Lafleur told him it’s a waste of time.

“Yeah, the exact truth is I don’t want to wake up the next day on Friday and see Aaron Rodgers, one of the best quarterbacks in this league, traded without doing any due diligence on him,” Shanahan said, via Pro Football Talk. “So, I just called Matt and asked him if there was anything to it, and Matt told me I’d be wasting my time if we had Lynch call, so Lynch did not call anyone the next day. But, yes, I did reach to Matt the night before and asked him, ‘Hey, man, I don’t want to wake up the next day and see that Aaron was traded for something, and I didn’t even at least look into it.’ That’s what I did with Matt. He gave me a very quick answer. . . . That worked out I guess. We were happy to get our guy, and hopefully it’ll work out for them.”

Jimmy Garoppolo

49ers QB Jimmy Garoppolo said he is looking forward to competing with QB Trey Lance, just like he did in New England with QB Tom Brady.

“It’s kind of coming full circle,” Garoppolo said, via ESPN. “You go through this NFL career and you start as a young guy coming in. Tom kind of showed me the ropes. The competition between us was awesome. It really made me grow as a rookie and as a young player. So, that’s kind of what me and Trey, we’ll mold our relationship into that. But it will happen naturally. It’s one of those things you can’t force anything. Just let it come as it may.”

Garoppolo is open to being a mentor for Lance instead of resisting the change.

“I try to use my own personal experiences and just what I went through, what helped me, what challenged me as a young player,” Garoppolo said. “I’m going to use those tools that helped me and try to help Trey out. It’s hard to come into this league; I know how it was coming from an FCS school to the NFL. It’s a bit of an adjustment, the speed, whatever you want to call it, it’s just different. So, whatever I can do to help him, I’ll be more than happy.”

Garoppolo also said he has a good relationship has been good with the team throughout the process.

“The communication has been good,” Garoppolo said. “There really hasn’t been anything unsaid. Everything has been put on the table. I’m just happy to have the opportunity to play football. At the end of the day, that’s what I’m here for, that’s what I signed up for. As long as I have the opportunity to go out there and win some games and play good football, that’s all you can ask for at the end of the day. … All you really need is an opportunity. If you get an opportunity, you’ve got to take advantage of it, and that’s what I’m trying to do.”

Trey Lance

49ers HC Kyle Shanahan explained to NBC Sports’ Peter King what exactly he found so compelling about first-round QB Trey Lance to make him the pick at No. 3 overall. 

“His natural ability to play the quarterback position, just in terms of how he plays in the pocket, how he can go through the progressions, how, when no one’s open, that he gives it a chance, that he recognizes it. And how quick he reacts to turning it into an off-schedule play. He plays on tape like he’s a very poised, smart person who’s been playing the position for a while.

“Then you look into the other attributes, and you’re like ‘Oh, I haven’t even gotten to the running skill set.’ I haven’t gotten to the upside of how much better he can get, the more he plays. That’s what made me like him so much right away.

“But it’s also, once you do that, you see all this, now let’s talk about what’s wrong. Why isn’t this a slam dunk? You hear his school [level of play], the lack of throws, not playing the 2020 season. Those are real things. That’s why I’m glad that we had a long time to go through it. Because you love the tape, but just like everyone in the league, there are some stuff you can’t just say it’s a slam dunk. That’s the stuff that worries you about it. But that’s what was so cool about the kid, that going through this process after we moved up to where I talked to him so many times, to have him go through the number of tests and stuff that we have them all go through . . . I can’t tell you how special of a person he is. It has nothing to do with football.

“He’s extremely intelligent. He knows how to handle situations. He knows how to carry himself. The guy that I see on tape that I tried to describe that I see such a natural quarterback, such a smart player. Well, if I never saw the tape, and I got to hang out with him first, I would’ve felt that same way with him as a person and been like, ‘Man, I hope the tape matches this person!’ You know? That’s kind of what was cool about it. The first time you watch the tape, ‘Man, hell yeah!’ But no decision’s set in stone in January. That’s how I felt in January when I saw him. But I was going to do the process right. Watch everybody. Every guy. I can always spend two hours and get myself to like anyone. Then, I go to the time getting myself to not like him. And I see what ends up sticking. That’s what was cool about him through the process at the end. No matter what I tried to do to say, ‘It’s too risky!,’ all that stuff kind of went away the more I got to know the person. I went back to how I originally felt about the tape.”

  • Shanahan also mentioned to King that Alabama QB Mac Jones was the first quarterback he watched and he came away excited about potentially drafting him at No. 12. 
  • Lance was the last of the big five he watched and while Shanahan didn’t explicitly say his athletic ability gave him the edge over Jones, it was a compelling part of what Lance brought to the table: “I’ve always been intrigued when you can have a guy make the defense play 11-on-11. It just slows down the game a little bit. You cannot have a guy that only makes them worry about the run. It’s just a matter of time before that becomes pretty easy to contain and that’s not built to last. You’ve got to have a guy that can do both.” 

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