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More Bad News Arises For Trade Candidate

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan recently gave an interview that makes it sound like a Trey Lance trade is inevitable.
Trey Lance Trade

A Trey Lance trade is becoming more and more likely with every passing day. The quarterback suffered a season-ending ankle injury in 2022 after just two games, but apparently, that wasn’t even his biggest setback with the 49ers. According to a recent interview with Kyle Shanahan, the former third-overall pick also suffered a hairline finger fracture that forced Lance to change the way he threw the football.

Trey Lance Trade Becomes More Likely After Recent Report

What Kyle Shanahan Said

According to Shanahan, Lance first suffered his finger injury in the 2021 preseason and it didn’t heal properly in the 2022 offseason. Because of this, Lance “spent a whole year throwing without a bent finger, which changed everything.” Shanahan went on to praise Lance for never complaining about the injury and “try[ing] to adjust so he could be out there.”

Obviously, this isn’t ideal, as we now know that Lance has suffered two significant, long-lasting injuries while making a whopping four starts in the league. Still, injuries can just be due to bad luck, and Shanahan added that the former third-round pick is fully recovered from both his finger and ankle injuries and that this version of Lance is “the best that we’ve [seen] right now.” Hopefully this is true, but this isn’t the first time we’ve heard a player coming back from injury is in ‘the best shape of his life’ in the offseason.

Shanahan’s comments didn’t end there, however. The longtime head coach confirmed that Brock Purdy is locked in as the starter, and from the sound of it, Lance won’t have a chance to win the job unless Purdy’s elbow injury prevents him from seeing the field.

“I understand the unusual circumstances of when you trade up for a quarterback with the third pick in the draft and how you’re expecting him to be the man for a long time…[y]ou’re also not expecting the last pick in the draft [Purdy] to come in and play at that level…When you talk about, ‘What does that say about Trey?’ I think it’s so unfair to Trey. What it does say is what Brock did in his eight games. And what Brock did was really damn good.”

Shanahan continues to say that “I believe [Lance] would have gotten to a level where he did similar stuff [to Purdy]. He missed that. Brock came in and did it. Now I truly believe Trey can go do that. But Brock’s already done it. And that’s a very good thing for us to have.”

Trey Lance Trade Destinations

Reading between the lines, this entire exchange sounds like a coach that believes Brock Purdy is his franchise quarterback and is trying to get the most value possible in a Trey Lance trade. He’s talking a lot about what Lanceย could be compared to what Purdy is, and the news about the finger injury gives a nice excuse for the relatively poor performance during his limited time on the field.

The fact of the matter is that the 49ers would not have signed Sam Darnold if they believed that Lance would be the backup quarterback. This is Purdy’s show, and Darnold would not agree to be a third-string quarterback. The 49ers are going to trade Trey Lance, and while he probably won’t find a starting job, there are a few interesting landing spots.

The most obvious choice is the Minnesota Vikings. Kirk Cousins is in the final year of his contract, and it’s an open secret that the team is looking for an upgrade. Acquiring Trey Lance via trade gives Minnesota one year to see what they’ve got in the former third-overall pick. If they believe Lance can be a franchise quarterback, then he can start in 2024.

Alternatively, there is a chance that Lance will have to settle for life as a backup for the foreseeable future. If that happens, the most likely fits are championship-caliber teams that need a backup quarterback with a high ceiling that can step in and keep the team afloat if injury strikes. From this lens, the most likely fits are the Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City Chiefs, and Los Angeles Chargers.

Lamar Jackson has missed 10 games over the past two seasons, and Tyler Huntley hasn’t exactly inspired confidence as a backup. Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert are two of the top three quarterbacks in the game, but do you really feel comfortable with Blaine Gabbert and Easton Stick being one play away from action? Obviously, Trey Lance is not as good as Mahomes or Herbert, but he’s considerably better than both backups and has the upside to keep these offenses playing at a high level.

Main Photo: Kyle Terada – USA Today Sports


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