3 Questions That Still Remain For The 49ers
The NFL calendar has officially entered the dog days of summer after mandatory minicamps wrapped up last week, leading to another hiatus without football. But while we wait for July 29th when training camps across the league officially start, there are still plenty of questions to answer.
Specifically with the San Francisco 49ers, there’s still plenty of scenarios left on the table as many issues were left unsolved following minicamp two weeks ago. While there aren’t enough words to answer all of these questions in this month-long hiatus, here are few questions still remaining for the 49ers as we approach the start of the 2022 season.
1. What To Do With Jimmy G?
One of the biggest questions heading into the offseason persists as the 49ers still have veteran signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo on the roster after dismissing him from mandatory minicamp this month. Garoppolo has been rehabbing from March shoulder surgery in Los Angeles, opting to continue to do so with the consent of the 49ers organization.
Garoppolo spoke to the media in February, hinting at a forthcoming trade by expressing his gratitude for the 49er faithful.
“Faithful, thank you very much for everything. It’s been crazy, man. Just all the comebacks at Levi’s, comebacks on the road, ups and downs, it’s been a hell of a ride, guys. I love you guys. See ya,” Garoppolo said.
Still with the 49ers in mid-June, Garoppolo has another year left on his contract but his exit has been assumed since the organization moved up in the 2021 draft to select QB Trey Lance with the third overall pick.
Meanwhile, Lance has taken the reins in the Bay Area, workin g as the first-team quarterback through minicamp as he prepares for potentially his first full season under center. Reports form camp have been glowing to say the least, as many expect the young star QB to take major strides forward in his sophomore season.
“Everything I’m hearing out of SF is that Trey Lance is making major strides not only as a player but as a leader in the building with Jimmy G not present,” Peter Schrager of Good Morning Football said recently.
The team has also brought in former Denver Broncos QB Brian Griese to mentor and develop Lance as the team’s quarterbacks coach, working on his mechanics at minicamp this month.
Looks like Trey Lance is working on manipulating Brian Griese pic.twitter.com/9K9nSZQHWy— Ted Nguyen (@FB_FilmAnalysis) June 8, 2022
So when do the 49ers trade Garoppolo if all signs point to Lance starting? That’s the big question.
Reports have speculated the delay to be because of Jimmy G’s shoulder surgery, given he won’t be ready to take the field until the start of the regular season. This is most likely the case as there should be several teams interested in acquiring a former Super Bowl QB. The Carolina Panthers, New York Giants and Seattle Seahawks come to mind as possible trade destinations.
Another possibility is that Garoppolo plays backup to Lance this season in a mentoring role as he recovers from injury and prepares to hit the open market in 2023. Not a bad idea at all but it is one to watch as we get closer to the start of the 2022 season.
2. When Are The Contract Extensions Getting Done?
Probably the biggest question on the Faithful’s mind this offseason has been when the contract extensions of stars Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa would be finished. Well you’ll have to keep waiting 49ers fans, as talks have lingered on through the offseason.
The biggest challenge has been the Samuel saga this offseason as the all-purpose wideout initially handed in a trade request in April after being frustrated with his role under head coach Kyle Shanahan. Since then, the front office has stayed pat on the notion that Deebo is not for sale.
“Well, we haven’t traded him, and — I’ve used the word fool — I’d be a fool to trade him, so yes, Deebo will be part of the 49ers this season,” 49ers General Manager John Lynch said, per NBC Sports Bay Area.
Talks have seemed to progress since then, especially after Samuel reported to minicamp this month, a positive sign for the 49er faithful.
Deebo Samuel is officially back on the 49ers practice field pic.twitter.com/HMx2ivG1fM— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) June 7, 2022
“I think it’s always been all right,” Shanahan told reporters regarding Samuel’s contract situation, “I don’t think the relationship was ever too far away to not get back to normal.”
Additionally, star defensive end Nick Bosa also reported to camp this month without a new deal, but is in line to receive one like Samuel.
Rumors surrounding extensions have silenced since minicamp but the expectation is that both players will receive new deals by the start of the preseason.
3. Which Draft Picks Will Stand Out This Season?
Each year new rookie prospects come into minicamp hoping to make an impact right way for their respective teams. This season is no different as the 49ers have a few rookies that could make the 53-man roster, some may even serve a valuable role for the Bay Area team in 2022.
The cream of the crop coming out of minicamp has been second-round pick Drake Jackson out of USC as the defensive lineman has been a wrecking ball early. The former Trojan has also impressed a few of his teammates and coaches, including All-Pro Nick Bosa, seeing attributes that he himself, didn’t have as a rookie on the field.
“He’s super talented, he does things out there I definitely couldn’t do as a rookie,” Bosa said about his new teammate.
Third-round pick WR Danny Gray out of SMU could also serve as a valuable addition to an offense lacking a clear-cut third option in the depth chart. Gray was incredibly productive for the Mustangs in two seasons, registering 82 catches for 1,251 yards and 13 touchdowns in 18 games.
Gray’s college coach, Sonny Dykes, told The Athletic that the wideout had just started to show his potential, expecting big things for his former player.
“We only had him for two years at SMU and he’s just scratching the surface,” Dykes told The Athletic’s Matt Barrows. “He can become a much better player than he was for us.”
There are other rookies who could make an impact this season but Jackson and Gray have been the two standouts so far this offseason.