The San Francisco 49ers found a way to create a quarterback controversy in 2022, courtesy of general manager John Lynch. Lynch’s NFL credentials are impressive. He played his college football at Stanford and was a third round selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1993 NFL Draft. He would help win a Super Bowl with the Buccaneers, before stops in Denver and New England. After his retirement from pro football in 2008, he would do color work for FOX. In 2021 he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.
In 2017, San Francisco would hire him as their general manager, and his immediate impact was felt. In 2017, Lynch drafted tight end George Kittle, and in 2019 he selected defensive end Nick Bosa. One year later he would draft wide receiver Debo Samuel. All names and productive players within the Niners organization and known throughout the NFL. It’s a strong foundation he’s built in the league and has a team who can compete with the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals. But he seems to have blinders on when it comes to the most important position on the team, and the one player needed to not just win the NFC West, but to be a bonafide contender for a Super Bowl.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) April 30, 2021
In 2021, John Lynch would draft quarterback Trey Lance out of North Dakota State with the third overall selection. He would be the Niners first quarterback selected in the first round since Alex Smith, and second-highest drafted FCS player since Carson Wentz was picked second overall in 2016 by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Beginning with the 2021 NFL season, Lance would begin his trek towards the starting Niners gig. In week one, he would see action against the Lions. His contribution would consist of one play, a pass for a touchdown to wide receiver Trent Sherfield. The touchdown would be part of a 41-33 win for Detroit. Against the Green Bay Packers, the backup starting quarterback would rush for a score, as San Francisco would still lose 30-28. It wasn’t until week four where he would finally play a significant amount. The Lance era was now a much-wanted realization for the 49ers own Captain Queeg.
Against division rival Seattle, Trey Lance would relieve an injured Jimmy Garoppolo. He would complete nine out of 18 passes for 157 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for 41 yards on seven carries, with the 49ers ultimately losing to the Seahawks 21–28. With Garoppolo still injured, Lance would again start for the Niners against the Arizona Cardinals. The rookie from NDSU would throw for 15 of 29 passes for 192 yards, and rish the football for 89 yards on 16 carries, throwing his first interception on the 49ers’ opening drive to safety Budda Baker. Again, the 49ers would lose 17-10 to Arizona. After an injury that had both Lance and Garoppolo out for a game against Indianapolis in week seven. He’d see the field again as quarterback two behind Garoppolo. in week 11 against Jacksonville. He would run the ball for seven yards before taking a knee in the 30-10 win.
Garoppolo would go down to injury again, this time in a 20-17 loss against Tennessee. Trey Lance would finally get his first NFL win, when the Niners beat Houston 23-7. His final stat line: 249 yards through the air, two touchdowns, and an interception. He would return to his role as backup when the 49ers with Garoppolo would beat the Los Angeles Rams. San Francisco would make their playoff run before Los Angeles would knock them out winning the NFC Championship.
The offseason brought more drama than was needed for Niners Nation. Garoppolo, who decided to have a medical procedure, saw he was being offered for the right price. The Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, even a role in Cleveland as the Deshaun Watson situation would rapidly deteriorate became storylines indicating how much John Lynch wanted to validate Trey Lance. Eventually, San Francisco would re-sign Garoppolo but announce Lance as their starter for 2022. The second-year starter would struggle in a monsoon storm against the Chicago Bears. He would complete 13 of 28 passes for 164 yards and an interception in a 10–19 loss. In week two, Lance would go down to a season-ending ankle injury against division rival Seattle. Quarterback two would enter as his replacement, beating the Seahawks 27-7 at Levi’s Stadium.
Lynch has a tenuous quarterback situation of his own making. Should Garoppolo suffer another injury, San Francisco 49ers fans will cast a wary eye to Mr. Irrelevant in the 2022 NFL Draft. That’s correct Bay Area fans, Brock Purdy is now the quarterback two on the depth chart, with head coach Kyle Shanahan insisting the organization has confidence in the Iowa State product. His career as the Cyclones signal caller was 48-46 over four seasons in Ames.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) April 30, 2022
John Lynch has demonstrated that his ego and vanity has the 49ers on the brink. He now needs Garoppolo who has led them to the playoffs and to a Super Bowl appearance, despite a contempt he has at not being able to jam a square peg into a round hole. Lynch is bent on making his point, no matter the consequences.