Jimmy Garoppolo has started the last three games for the 49ers, but he is dealing with a couple of nagging injuries that have landed him on the injury report this season.
Currently, Garoppolo is dealing with a thumb injury in his throwing hand that caused him to miss Week 17. He was able to return to action for three must-win 49ers games, but between that and a shoulder problem that landed him on the injury report last week, he may not be quite 100 percent for the rest of the NFL season.
That won’t matter much to 49ers fans, though. Some have been clamoring for Jimmy G to be replaced as the starter anyway. Why? Because in the wings, his young backup lurks and should soon be ready to take on the starting job.
Will that happen during the 2022 NFL playoffs? Probably not. Nonetheless, don’t be surprised if you see the name Trey Lance trending on Twitter should Garoppolo struggle or throw another tough interception.
Here’s what you need to know about Garoppolo’s backup and the other quarterback options further down the 49ers’ depth chart.
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Who is the 49ers’ backup quarterback?
Trey Lance is the backup quarterback for the 49ers.
San Francisco selected Lance out of North Dakota State with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The 49ers traded up to the No. 3 pick from the No. 12 spot and evaluated Lance, Justin Fields and Mac Jones as they considered a long-term replacement for Garoppolo. Lance ended up being the choice.
Lance was a one-year starter at North Dakota State, but he led the team to an FCS Championship and completed. 66.9 percent of his passes for 2,786 yards, 28 touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran for 1,100 yards and 14 touchdowns. He had a lone showcase game in 2020 — the FCS moved its season to the spring of 2021 because of the COVID pandemic — but his tape, which showcased his athleticism, arm strength and mobility was enough to make him a top-five pick.
Lance (6-4, 224 pounds) started two games this season as Garoppolo battled various injuries. He has a 1-1 record and finished his season with five passing touchdowns and two interceptions. The 49ers designed some running packages for the mobile Lance early in the season, but they haven’t used them as much of late. Still, don’t be surprised if he sees a snap or two as a wrinkle even with Garoppolo healthy.
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49ers QB depth chart
Garoppolo, 30, is a former second-round draft pick by the Patriots and was viewed as a potential successor for Tom Brady. However, he has been with the 49ers since 2017 and has posted a 31-14 record as their starter. He helped guide the team to a Super Bowl 54 appearance and threw for 3,810 yards, 20 touchdowns and 12 interceptions during the 2021 NFL season.
Jimmy G is usually an accurate passer but he sometimes struggles with turnovers, and interceptions in particular. He has thrown two during the 2022 NFL playoffs with no touchdowns. He will rely heavily on Deebo Samuel, George Kittle and Elijah Mitchell to carry the offense the rest of the postseason.
Lance, 21, is bigger, stronger and faster than Garoppolo. He is also much more raw, having started just 17 games at the FCS level during his college days. Lance will almost certainly be the 49ers’ starter for the 2022 NFL season but Kyle Shanahan has been reluctant to throw him into action to date.
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Sudfeld, 28, is a former sixth-round pick of the Washington Football Team in 2017. He has played in four NFL games, all from 2017 through 2020 with the Eagles, and has completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 188 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
Sudfeld is best known for replacing Jalen Hurts in Week 17 of the 2020 NFL season in a game that the Giants needed the Eagles to win to make the playoffs. San Francisco signed him during the 2021 offseason to be the team’s third-string quarterback and he currently resides on the 49ers’ practice squad.