San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch has repeatedly stated that he felt a trade of Jimmy Garoppolo would happen. Few felt the veteran quarterback would be with the 49ers by the start of the 2022 season. Of course, Garoppolo’s decision to undergo shoulder surgery on March 8 changed everything. It put everything on hold. It turned out to put everything permanently on hold.

Teams that sought a quarterback filled their needs. No one was trading for a recovering Garoppolo. By the time he was healthy again, all of the quarterback musical chairs had been filled. Garoppolo was the one left without a seat.

So Garoppolo returned to the 49ers on a restructured one-year deal, ready to serve as Trey Lance’s backup. That changed on Sunday when Lance went down with a season-ending ankle injury, leaving Garoppolo as the team’s starter moving forward.

ESPN’s Tim Keown and Nick Wagoner report that, before the surgery, the 49ers felt a trade to one specific team was on the horizon.

“According to multiple league sources, the Niners believed one of those [interested] teams — the Washington Commanders — was poised to become Garoppolo’s next NFL home,” reports ESPN. “But that plan was scuttled soon after; Garoppolo’s shoulder wasn’t healing as he and his medical team hoped.

“After further consultation with doctors, Garoppolo and his representatives opted for surgery that set the beginning of training camp as a target date for a full recovery. By March 1, the plan became public knowledge, and eight days later, the Commanders moved on, trading for Indianapolis quarterback Carson Wentz.”

Now, the 49ers are probably counting their blessings that things worked out as they did. The worst-case scenario would have been losing Lance and putting the championship-caliber roster in the hands of a less-experienced quarterback, like the last overall pick in this year’s draft—Brock Purdy.

Garoppolo’s presence keeps the team competitive and its Super Bowl hopes alive.