There are few names in the history of the San Francisco 49ers or the NFL that holds as much weight as two-time NFL MVP Joe Montana.
So when the four-time Super Bowl winner speaks about quarterback play, it’s worth the listen. Especially considering his latest comments address his former team’s quarterback room.
The 49ers look ready to trade QB Jimmy Garoppolo after trading up and drafting Trey Lance in the 2021 NFL draft, but Montana isn’t sure if that’s in the team’s best interest. That is partially due because the team has proven they can win with Jimmy G, but it’s also due to that Montana doesn’t believe Lance is ready to take over completely.
In an interview with The Ringer, Montana was asked what the 49ers should do.
“I think they keep Jimmy until you find somebody else,” Montana responded. “I don’t think Trey’s ready to play yet, as myself and after talking to some of the players. I think it’s one of those things that if you can keep Jimmy healthy, he plays well enough to get you [to the Super Bowl.]”
San Francisco hasn’t made any moves yet, but it will be interesting if they end up changing course. There’s no world in which Montana’s comments play a factor, of course. But considering Montana’s championship rings and Hall of Fame status, it’s definitely worth noting.
ALL the latest 49ers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on 49ers newsletter here!
49ers Star Reveals How Garoppolo Helped Lance
Another name that has weighed in on Garoppolo and Lance is their No. 1 target, wide receiver Deebo Samuel. After being selected as a first-team All-Pro, Samuel is now a focal point of San Francisco’s offense going forward, no matter which player is the quarterback.
The former South Carolina Gamecock went on Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler’s podcast, and was asked how Jimmy G and Lance worked together in 2021.
“I think Jimmy played a major role in helping Trey become a pro and showing him the ins and outs of the league and showing him what it takes to be the guy. Because Jimmy was the guy for us for three years,” Samuel explained.
What Samuel is describing is something you expect out of NFL QBs, but it doesn’t always happen. Whether the Niners move on from Garoppolo or not, him assisting Lance is a major factor of the young QB’s development.
Is Lance Ready?
Deebo expanded a bit more on what the future with Lance looks like, and what San Francisco has to do to help him be successful. Of course, that starts with head coach Kyle Shanahan.
Samuel explained that he has faith in the Niners’ process, as he is a current example of the team working around a young talent and it translating to success.
“I think Trey can be a superstar in this league,” Samuel said. “But the things that he has to learn is this is officially [his] first offseason. I know Kyle [Shanahan] is going to do a good job of putting a plan together in order for him to be the guy that we need him to be, because [ex-49ers receiver coach] Wes Welker did that to me and I think it helped me become the player I am.”
The 49ers will hope Lance can have a similar trajectory as Samuel is taking.