Jimmy Garoppolo's time as starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers will last at least one more weekend. The opportunity was granted to him last Sunday, when his team beat the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC wild-card round, securing a divisional-round bout against the top-seeded Green Bay Packers.
San Francisco mortgaged its future last spring to draft highly-touted prospect Trey Lance, the hopeful heir apparent to Garoppolo at the position. But if the 30-year-old veteran wins another playoff game on Saturday, the possibility of him returning to the team next year should only grow stronger, according to former 49ers cornerback and current podcast host Eric Davis.
"If Jimmy keeps winning, it's going to be very difficult to [part ways] if you're [head coach] Kyle Shanahan," Davis told The Zach Gelb Show on Wednesday. "Because he's the only quarterback -- since he's been here as head coach -- Garoppolo is the only quarterback he's had success with. That's number one. Number two, the assumption is Lance will be ready to play. Lance has played two football games in the last two years. Lance may not be ready to play...
"If Jimmy gets them to the Super Bowl, plays well, I definitely see him coming back. I don't believe you trade Lance. I think they like Lance, and I believe the thought in drafting Lance is he's the guy of the future... Eventually, the time is going to come when he gets a shot. But if you're winning with the incumbent, if he takes them to the Super Bowl, you're getting rid of that? With the hopes that the next guy can possibly play well?..."
Garoppolo, who's been playing with a torn ligament and chipped bone in his right thumb, didn't have a highlight-reel day against Dallas. He completed just 16 of 25 passes for 172 yards with no touchdowns and an awful fourth quarter interception. On Monday, Shanahan told reporters that Garoppolo sustained a right shoulder sprain during the game, although he's expected to play against the Packers.
Whether or not Lance assumes the starting role in 2022, Shanahan's winning ways with Garoppolo can't be ignored. In five seasons at the helm, the 49ers are 34-14 (including postseason) with Garoppolo under center, and just 8-28 without him. San Francisco and Green Bay will kick off at 8:15 ET on Saturday, and according to FiveThirtyEight's projections, the 49ers currently have a 25-percent chance to reach the NFC championship game.
The entire NFL conversation between Davis and Gelb can be accessed in the audio player above.