In most cases, a starting quarterback suffering a significant injury negatively impacts that team’s offense. That isn’t the case for the San Francisco 49ers. They lost Trey Lance to an ankle injury against the Seahawks, but we’ve already seen Jimmy Garoppolo bring them to two NFC Championship games and one Super Bowl appearance. In fact, the 49ers are actually a more stable betting option with Garoppolo.
The Bad News
There are a few reasons San Francisco opted to enter this season with Lance as their starting quarterback. The first is the most obvious one: you don’t invest the No. 3 overall pick in a quarterback for them to ride the pine for multiple years. The second is the 49ers have an excellent roster, and they aren’t getting the most out of it with Garoppolo under center.
Whoever comes out of the NFC the next several years will have to square off with AFC teams led by dynamic quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Lamar Jackson (if he re-signs and Josh Allen. We don’t yet know who Lance is as a professional quarterback, but that’s why the 49ers spent the No 3 overall pick on Lance two years ago. They believe he can be a difference maker.
There are two major negatives in the shift from Lance to Garoppolo. The first is that Lance’s development will be delayed since he will miss the rest of the season, at least. The second is San Francisco has fewer outs against premium opponents. In the past, San Francisco pivoted from Alex Smith to Colin Kaepernick for the same reason, Kaepernick was still an unknown when San Francisco made that shift, but he raised the ceiling of the offense.
The Good News
As mentioned above, we know what we’re getting with Garoppolo. We also know the 49ers kept him for a reason, unlike when they traded Smith after handing the team to Kaepernick years ago. A different coaching staff made those changes, but there are a lot of parallels in these situations.
I’d compare Garoppolo to Joe Flacco when the latter was a Raven. They both certainly had their moments. They both led contending teams behind one of the league’s best rosters and coaching staff combinations. They both kept their teams in a lot of games while showing the ability to storm back from a significant deficit on occasion. In both cases, however, you were regularly left wanting more out of the position.
Chris Farley and I will be discussing how to handle the 49ers from a betting perspective throughout the year. But on a baseline level, the 49ers are now a more stable team and therefore a more stable betting option in most situations. As an immediate example, I would have taken San Francisco with one of my survivor entries this week if Garoppolo was started Week 2’s matchup with the Seahawks.