If it were up to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, Trey Lance would be with the team for the 2023 NFL season.
However, at the end of the day, they will do what is best for the young midfielder after Sam Darnold was named as a replacement for Brooke Purdy earlier this week.
“I think what’s going on is the 49ers are looking to see if they can find a home for him,” ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter reported Thursday on “Get Up” (h/t 49ers Webzone). “And they’re not looking for too much. They’re honestly, they really want to put him in a position where he can shine, where he can excel, because they think he’s made improvements.
“But it’s just that they go with Brooke Purdy, and they love Sam Darnold, and they love Brandon Allen. And so they’re looking to put Tre Lance, basically, up for adoption. Who wants to adopt him and put him? In a nice home where they’re going to raise him the right way, and where he’s going to have some work?”
Lance, who was traded by the 49ers for the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 draft, has moved from the franchise’s receiver to the bottom of the depth chart. He was named the starter for the 2022 season but suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 and was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo, who was eventually replaced by Purdy.
After it became clear Purdy would be a starter for 2023 after an amazing rookie season, Lance and Darnold sparred throughout training camp for the backup job. In the end, Darnold came out on top.
“…(S)since he was drafted out of high school, I think he’s thrown about 475 tackles in games,” Schefter continued. “He got almost no work. He didn’t have the time nor opportunity to develop the way he should have done it through nobody’s fault. And so the 49ers are open to trading him, and they’ll be looking to trade him next week to someone who will take him in, give him a nice home.” And give him a chance.
“And if that doesn’t happen, they’ll keep him there, continue to grow and nurture him there. But I think, in an ideal world, they’d look to trade him by 4:00 p.m. Eastern menu on Tuesday. Delivery time.”
Understandably, Lance doesn’t have much of a trading market. He only has one season as a starter at North Dakota State and has never played even a quarter of his snaps in consecutive games at the NFL level. An NFL reporter spoke with several league executives who gauged Lance’s value in an early third-day pick of the NFL Draft.
After Shanahan broke the news to Lance, who was “bummed” by his demotion, the signal-caller was notably absent from Wednesday’s practice after both sides agreed it would be best for him to take time off. But Shanahan and Lynch expect Lance to play in San Francisco’s final preseason game on Friday against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi’s Stadium.
On Thursday, Lynch talked about what Lance’s future with the 49ers might look like.
Lynch said he believed Lance would return to the team and stay for the regular season.
“We’re very happy for Trey,” Lynch said on KNBR’s “Murph & Mac.” “It’s probably the most likely option, that he’s here. … If we can find a landing place for Trey that’s really good for him and works in our organisation, it’s not something we turn a blind eye to.
“But that’s not what our focus is on now. I think our focus is on Trey coming back here and being the best football team.