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NFL Player News | The 49ers Have Given Up on Trey Lance
Good Evening. Our top story this week: Kyle Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers have given up on Trey Lance.
A report came out on April 19 that the San Francisco 49ers were fielding calls from several teams looking to trade for the former No. 3-overall pick.
Sources: The #49ers have received inquiries from several teams looking into a potential trade for former No. 3 pick QB Trey Lance. The conversations have been the result of SF fielding the calls, not making them, with teams aware that Brock Purdy is likely the future starter. pic.twitter.com/ddOZjZq5Xn
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 19, 2023
In the wake of this news, we have learned that it was the worst-kept secret at the 2023 NFL Combine that San Francisco was actively shopping Lance, having decided that Brock Purdy is the future of the franchise. Where did it all go wrong for the former North Dakota State star? Is Lance a bust? Or is Kyle Shanahan’s ego getting in the way?
Player News | The Trade Up
On March 21, 2021 news broke that the San Francisco 49ers were sending the 1.12, a first-round pick in 2022, a first-round pick in 2023, and a third-round pick in 2022 to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the No. 3 overall pick. It was clear and obvious that Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson would be off the board. This left the 49ers with three choices. By many accounts, the initial plan was to take Mac Jones. Shanahan envisioned him as the next Matt Ryan/Kirk Cousins. Somewhere along the line, whether it was bullying on Twitter or Kyle Shanahan trying to big-brain it, the plan changed. Ultimately, the 49ers went with Lance.
Trey Lance was always going to take time to develop. He entered the NFL with just 318 pass attempts in college. All of those passes came at the FCS level. For comparison’s sake, the biggest project in the 2023 NFL Draft, Anthony Richardson, threw 327 attempts in 2022 alone. Lance would play just one game in his final year due to the 2020 pandemic. In that game, he completed 15/30 attempts for 149 yards with two TDs and an interception. Additionally, he added 143 yards and two TDs on the ground. The upside was incredibly apparent. However, the lack of experience meant there would be a lot of learning to do from the bench.
Back Up Duties
For this reason, Lance was relegated to Jimmy Garoppolo‘s backup for his rookie season. He did see some action early. Lance threw a five-yard TD on his first career pass attempt against the Lions in Week 1. He also rushed for his first career score in Week 3 against the Packers, but it was to be the slow build we were promised. That is until Garoppolo suffered a calf injury partway through a Week 4 matchup with the Seattle Seahawks. Lance would complete 9/18 passes for 157 yards with two TDs and added 41 yards rushing on seven attempts. While he was uneven in the 28-21 loss, Lance showed us just enough flashes of why he was drafted so highly.
Garoppolo’s calf injury kept him out of the following contest against the Arizona Cardinals, and Trey Lance would complete 15/29 attempts for 192 yards and an interception while rushing for 89 yards in a 17-10 loss.
Every run/throw from San Francisco #49ers rookie QB Trey Lance vs Arizona #Cardinals
Full Video: https://t.co/9UZVdNaPJk pic.twitter.com/XC0ydNOeMk
— Brad (@Graham_SFN) October 11, 2021
Lance would then be forced into his second career start in Week 17 after Garoppolo tore the UCL in his right thumb. In this game, Lance put together his best statistical performance of the year by completing 69.6-percent of his passes for 249 yards and two TDs while picking up 31 yards on the ground in a 23-7 win over the Houston Texans. Even so, Kyle Shanahan did not have enough faith in Lance to ride with him. The 49ers started Garoppolo for Week 18 and three playoff games. Even though Garoppolo sustained a sprained shoulder in the Wild Card game, Lance still didn’t start over the final two weeks.
After the season, Shanahan confirmed that Trey Lance was the starter going forward. Garoppolo would be traded after he was medically cleared, as the shoulder sprain would require surgery. As we all know that trade would never happen. This turned out to be lucky for the 49ers. Lance would start Week 1 against the Bears, but a tsunami in Chicago led to just 260 combined passing yards between the two teams.
The next week Lance would suffer a broken ankle that would end his season, forcing Jimmy Garoppolo back into the starting lineup. However, Garoppolo also suffered a season-ending injury. You know the rest of the story. Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy became the starter, won every game he started and finished, and he also won over Kyle Shanahan before tearing the UCL in his elbow during the NFC Championship.
Fast forward to the 2023 NFL Combine and it became apparent that Purdy was the guy. It would be a competition, per General Manager John Lynch, but Purdy would have the inside track once his elbow healed.
Fast forward again to NFL Free Agency. Now, the 49ers are signing Sam Darnold. San Francisco claimed this was just a precautionary move, They said the team had seen what happens when you lose three quarterbacks and didn’t want to risk the same fate.
Fast forward again to this week and now, the story is revealed that the worst-kept secret in the NFL is the San Francisco 49ers have been speaking to multiple teams since the NFL Combine about moving their former starter.
And here we stand today. The entire world knew it would take at least a year, if not two or three, before Lance would begin to hit his stride and a judgment could be made on his quarterbacking abilities. After two years, 3.75 games, and 102 pass attempts, the 49ers have decided they’ve seen enough. There is no inciting incident. It is far too early, and we have seen nowhere near enough of Trey Lance to call him a bust. The only logical explanation we have is that Kyle Shanahan’s ego is driving the bus, and we’re all just along for the ride.