There is an old saying that owners own, coaches coach and players play.
For the San Francisco 49ers, things are a little more complicated and the roles are blurred.
That is why the 49ers’ decision to give up a third-round pick this year and their first-round picks the next two years to move up nine spots to draft Trey Lance with the third pick was a move with a lot of ramifications for the future of the team.
Yes, the same Lance who played just 19 college games at North Dakota State, just one last year.
And the team already has Jimmy Garoppolo, who obviously is no longer in their long-term plans.
Lance was one of the five quarterbacks drafted with the first 15 picks. The other four are Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Justin Fields and Mac Jones.
We all know that not all five are going to make it big. That’s not realistic.
What we don’t know is which ones are going to live up to expectations and which ones don’t.
It is fair to say, though, that the 49ers and Lance are in the most interesting situation.
To start with, they have to decide what is Garappolo’s future.
Coach Kyle Shanahan made a statement before the draft when asked about Jimmy G that he had to backtrack on after the draft.
“I totally bombed that,” Shanahan said. “I hated how that came off. I talked to Jimmy about it right away. I didn’t realize (how it sounded) when I did it. A person (reporter) I have a relationship with who sometimes he asks me what I think is a silly question, sometimes I mess with him back, and that’s kind of what I was doing. That was between me and that guy, had nothing to do with Jimmy when I said, ‘I didn’t know if we’d be alive Sunday.’ ”
As if things weren’t complicated enough, owner Jed York said publicly he asked Frank Gore for his opinion on the quarterbacks in the draft and he endorsed Lance.
It’s unusual for an owner to ask a player for his advice. Gore played with the 49ers for a decade and is currently a free agent.
Gore also said he would be OK if Garoppolo played for two more years before his contract runs out.
Let’s sort this out. There is no way Garoppolo is going to play two more seasons and then walk away as a free agent. He will be traded either before or after the upcoming season.
The larger question is how good Lance is going to be. If he turns out to be another Carson Wentz, Shanahan and general manager John Lynch are going to have some explaining to do. They have put their future in Lance’s hands and need Lance to be an elite quarterback.
It is like they are walking on a high wire without a net as they prepare for upcoming season.