Who's Starting at QB for the Niners in Week 1 Against the Bears?

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Who’s Starting at QB for the Niners in Week 1 Against the Bears?

Chicago Bears

I’m penciling Justin Fields as the Chicago Bears’ starting quarterback when the team kicks off the regular season against the San Francisco 49ers in 61 days. The guy starting opposite Fields, by contrast, is a bit more up-in-the-air. Certainly more so than I would’ve expected at this point on the calendar.

It should be Trey Lance. That’s the no brainer answer. And when you send three first-round picks to trade up to draft a guy, that better be the slam-dunk choice. But if the general consensus is that Lance is the guy, what does that mean for Jimmy Garoppolo.

Well, his agent, Don Yee, attempts to provide an outlook for his client’s future (via NFL Network reporter Tom Pelissero):

Pelissero indicating that the expectation is that San Francisco will find a trade partner for Garoppolo by the end of July is notable. As is the nugget from from Garoppolo’s agent, who hints the Eastern Illinois product is on a good path as he continues on the comeback trail. All of this is positive news for Garoppolo — as well as a Niners team that is looking to offload the quarterback and his $24 million salary. And, in essence, closes the door on someone other than Lance getting the QB1 nod.

But this has been an odd offseason for Lance (and the Niners’ QB situation altogether).

Long-time NFL reporter Mike Silver shared a tidbit about concerns about Lance’s throwing accuracy and “arm fatigue” that popped up during his rookie season. The 49ers have since rebuffed that report, with The Athletic’s Ted Nguyen passing along this response from a 49ers coaching staffer: “I’ve never heard anything about that a day in my life” when answering a question about the arm fatigue issue. Health might be the only thing keeping Lance out of the starting lineup. But that this ordeal represents the latest eyebrow-raising news item surrounding Lance this offseason bugs me.

For example, PFT’s Mike Florio was thinking back in February that Brady would end up playing for the 49ers in 2022. Elsewhere, Hall of Fame QB Joe Montana told The Ringer’s Kevin Clark (via NBC Sports Bay Area) he didn’t believe Lance was ready to play. This thought came to Montana after conversations he had with Niners players. Not getting the co-sign from the greatest to ever lace ’em up in San Fran isn’t a great look. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Adam Schefter was hinting to PFF’s Ari Meirov that Lance still needed more seasoning. To be fair, we’re five months removed from most of that reporting. And yet, it feels like there is always *SOMETHING* lingering around Lance that serves as a mini hurdle to clear en route to a clear path to a starter’s role.

Until he shakes it, the possibility of someone other than Lance starting in Week 1 will rattle around nagging me like a pebble stuck in a pair of Air Jordans.

Even still … I’d bet on a Justin Fields-Trey Lance Week 1 showdown at Soldier Field. And that should be an absolute treat. Two young, toolsy quarterbacks with tremendous upsides slinging it along the lakefront sous like a dream. But I know better than to make guarantees after the most unpredictable offseason in league history.

Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.