Shanahan says QB Jimmy Garoppolo could remain with 49ers in 2022: 'There's a chance for anything'

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan has been unwavering in his quarterback plan: Jimmy Garoppolo is the present, and Trey Lance is the future.

But that doesn't necessarily mean Garoppolo will be playing elsewhere in 2022. Shanahan left that possibility open when asked about Garoppolo's status with the club beyond this season.

"There's a chance for anything, but I think we've made it pretty clear that Trey is our guy of the future, whenever that happens," Shanahan said. "But it's also nothing against Jimmy that we took Trey to be our guy of the future."

Garoppolo is in the midst of a five-year, $137 million contract signed in 2018, which expires after next season. If he were to stay with the club, his 2022 salary cap figure, per Over the Cap, would be a robust $27 million -- too much for what would presumably be Lance's time to shine.

The 49ers selected Lance at No. 3 overall in this year's NFL Draft and signed him to a $34 million deal, only to groom him behind Garoppolo as a rookie. Of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round -- Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones were the others -- all but Lance have taken over as rookie starters. Garoppolo is more capable than the quarterbacks those other rookies had to beat out, however, Shanahan has stuck to his plan to roll with his veteran in 2021.

Garoppolo has thrown only 12 touchdown passes on the season, but has thrown just five interceptions. He missed one start in Week 5 with a calf injury, giving way to Lance, who struggled in a 17-10 loss.

The 49ers (5-5) are in third place in the NFC West behind two of the conference's top contenders in the Cardinals and Rams. For now, there's every reason for the 49ers to keep competing without Lance's development being a front-burner issue. However, If the team falls out of the playoff race in the coming weeks, sitting Lance will make decreasing sense. The 49ers play host to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

Keeping both quarterbacks around for 2022 without a restructured deal for Garoppolo seems implausible, but if Shanahan turns to Lance later in the season for an extended look, Garoppolo's future with the club could become a lot more clear.

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