Trey Lance Trade Rumors: Why 49ers Want to Keep Him (Despite QB Dilemma)

AP Photo/Lachlan Cunningham

The San Francisco 49ers have a quarterback dilemma heading into the 2023 season. After drafting Trey Lance with the third overall pick in 2021, they expected him to be their franchise quarterback for years to come. However, a season-ending injury in Week 2 of 2022 derailed his development and opened the door for Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold to compete for the starting job.

Purdy, who was selected with the last pick of the 2022 draft, impressed the coaching staff with his poise and performance in the final five games of last season. He led the 49ers to the NFC West title and a berth in the NFC Championship Game, throwing for 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns with only three interceptions.

Darnold, who was acquired from the New York Jets in March, also showed improvement and consistency in training camp and preseason games. He beat out Lance for the backup role behind Purdy and earned the trust of head coach Kyle Shanahan.

Lance, meanwhile, has been relegated to the third-string role and has not been practicing with the team due to an undisclosed reason. His future with the 49ers is uncertain, as there have been rumors of trade interest from other teams.

Shanahan, however, is not ready to give up on Lance just yet. In an interview with KNBR’s Tom Tolbert and Adam Copeland on Wednesday, he said he is “really hoping” Lance will remain with the team .

“This isn’t a thing where we’re giving up on Trey,” Shanahan said. “You only get so many reps at it. We feel starting about 10 days ago Sam really separated himself, and we got to keep it real in that way.”

Shanahan added that he still believes in Lance’s potential and wants him to learn from Purdy and Darnold.

“He’s still a very young player who has a lot of talent,” Shanahan said. “He needs to keep working hard and stay ready for his opportunity. He can learn a lot from watching Brock and Sam, who have both been through a lot in this league.”

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the 49ers have not received any significant trade offers for Lance . They are reportedly looking for a massive haul of draft picks and/or players in exchange for the former No. 3 overall pick.

The Minnesota Vikings are one of the teams that have been linked to Lance, as they are looking for a long-term successor to Kirk Cousins . However, they may not be willing to meet the 49ers’ asking price.

Other teams that could be interested in Lance include the Houston Texans, who are dealing with Deshaun Watson’s legal issues; the Pittsburgh Steelers, who are preparing for Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement; and the Washington Football Team, who are still searching for a franchise quarterback .

Lance has shown flashes of brilliance in his brief NFL career, but he has also struggled with injuries, turnovers, and accuracy. He completed 55.6 percent of his passes for 512 yards and four touchdowns with five interceptions in two games last season. He also ran for 118 yards and one touchdown.

The 49ers are hoping that Lance can overcome his challenges and become the quarterback they envisioned when they traded up to draft him. They are not interested in trading him at this point, but they are also not guaranteeing him a starting spot anytime soon.

Lance’s situation is one of the most intriguing storylines in the NFL as the regular season approaches. Will he stay with the 49ers or find a new home? Will he get another chance to prove himself or remain on the bench? Will he live up to his draft status or become one of the biggest busts in history?

Only time will tell.

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