Could the San Francisco 49ers trade Trey Lance in ’23?

Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports)
Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers (Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports) /

The San Francisco 49ers drafted Trey Lance with the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Could he actually be traded this offseason?  What has happened with the 49ers quarterback situation has been quite amazing to witness.

First, Trey Lance went down during the first game of the season and suffered a season-ending injury.  Next, Jimmy Garoppolo came back in and was able to put some of his best football as a 49er on film.

But then, he went down, leaving third string rookie, Mr. Irrelevant himself Brock Purdy to take the reigns, and he hasn’t looked back.  Purdy has not lost since taking over the starting job, and he has put up some big-time numbers on a loaded offense.

Then, there’s the pending Tom Brady free agency saga.  There have been some very, very early indications that the 49ers could have interest in the Bay Area kid, who latched onto the 49ers growing up.

It would be a special homecoming for Brady.

Rewinding a bit, Trey Lance was essentially handed the starting job for 2022.  The 49ers tried to trade Jimmy Garoppolo, but his bum shoulder scared some teams, so an agreement was made that would keep Jimmy G in San Fran as the primary backup to Lance.

Garoppolo coming in and playing his best ball as a 49er really put things in a weird spot.  Then, Brock Purdy came in and has proven to be insanely effective.

I could personally see separate situations where Purdy, Garoppolo, and Brady could all start, but I’m not sure I could say the same about Trey Lance.  Garoppolo probably leaves for another team in free agency.  The 49ers don’t have a ton of cap space, so I think a breakup is coming soon.

What happens if Purdy crashes and burns in the playoffs, ending the Niners’ season?  Would they then make an effort to sign Brady?  In that case, Brady could start, and Purdy could be the backup.

Whatever the situation ends up being, I do think the 49ers could entertain trading Trey Lance to try and get as much back for him as possible.  Perhaps what the team gave up to trade up for Trey Lance is a sunk cost at this point, and maybe it’s best to just rip the Band-Aid off and move on.