Jimmy Garoppolo's 49ers shade shows Cowboys saved Trey Lance from dysfunction

The Cowboys saved Trey Lance from a seemingly untenable situation with the 49ers.
Los Angeles Chargers v San Francisco 49ers
Los Angeles Chargers v San Francisco 49ers / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

Another coating was added to the long-standing rivalry between the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers when the former traded for Trey Lance. The deal cements Lance as one of the worst draft gambles in modern NFL history, as the 49ers traded three first-round picks to move up and draft Lance in 2021.

Of course, almost all of that falls on San Francisco's shoulders. The return on investment for mortgaging their future? Four regular season starts, less than 1,000 passing yards, five touchdowns and a fourth-round pick.

Lance is partly to blame for not panning out with the 49ers, but at the end of the day it was the organization that failed him. Maybe John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan wiffed on Lance as a prospect, or maybe they never had a plan or concrete timeline for Lance to supplant Jimmy Garoppolo as the franchise guy.

Whatever the case, Garoppolo seemingly took Lance's side in the ongoing debate by throwing shade at the 49ers organization.

Jimmy Garoppolo happy Trey Lance got away from 49ers, traded to Cowboys

“Weird situation,” Garoppolo told Sports Illustrated. “Been a lot of weird situations over there in San Francisco. I’ll just leave it at that. But I’m happy Trey got another shot. I’m happy he’s getting to Dallas, gets another opportunity and hopefully things work out there.”

It's impossible to know what Garoppolo was referencing by "weird situations," but his smirk and overall tone suggest the QB wasn't fond of how he was treated in San Francisco. It's no secret Garoppolo was upset when the 49ers moved up to No. 3 overall to take Lance in the 2021 draft.

That season, Shanahan schemed a package for Lance, who would replace Garoppolo during games for plays at a time. Fast forward to the offseason and the Niners tried trading Jimmy G, but couldn't find a buyer -- likely because of his injury history and contract.

Similarly, Lance entered this offseason as the No. 2 behind Brock Purdy. Finally recovered from his fractured ankle and ready to put heat on Purdy, the 49ers signed Sam Darnold in free agency knowing he would stand out in camp and preseason given his experience. Shanahan also praised Darnold at every turn.

Before long, Darnold was named the backup, which confirmed what everyone had speculated: Shanahan was out on Lance.

Cowboys fans are in no position to talk down on San Francisco (see the last two playoff matchups), but it's clear Dallas saved Lance from an untenable situation. Based on Garoppolo's comments, it sounds like the 49ers never really knew what they wanted to do at QB, even after they drafted Lance.