The 49ers have named Brock Purdy QB1 heading into 2023 but general manager John Lynch wouldn’t shoot down a blockbuster trade option as a result.
The quarterback room in San Francisco for the 2022 season may as well have doubled as a triage floor. First, it was 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance who went down to an injury. Then, veteran Jimmy Garoppolo also suffered an injury, which made way for Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy to become the starter and, subsequently, a star for the 49ers.
Purdy, of course, was also injured in the team’s NFC Championship Game loss to the Eagles, which also saw then-backup Josh Johnson get injured. But in the wake of all of this, Purdy won over the hearts of fans, the belief of his teammates, and of the front office too apparently as he was labeled the QB1 going into the 2023 season.
The question even before that revelation, though, was what would then happen to Trey Lance. Would the 49ers hold onto him in the event that Purdy fell back to earth? Would Lance win back the job in training camp? Or would the 49ers, who traded up in the 2021 draft to select the North Dakota State product, now explore a Trey Lance trade?
General manager John Lynch gave some indication of the direction on Monday.
NFL rumors: 49ers won’t shoot down Trey Lance trade idea
Speaking with the media at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix this week, Lynch was asked about the potential for trading Lance in this current situation. His response undoubtedly did nothing to dispel the notion that it was possible.
“We like Trey on our team right now,” Lynch said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “We always joke, [coach] Kyle [Shanahan] and I, we’d trade each other if someone gave us a good enough deal. So we listen to everything, but we like Trey on our team and we are very excited about the way he is progressing about his opportunity.”
The cynical approach to this says that Lynch is trying to throw in a joking anecdote about he and Shanahan trading one another while keywords like “right now” are being thrown around regarding a Trey Lance trade.
But if you’re less cynical, try comparing that response to how the front office handled the potential to trade wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk this offseason.
Intend to keep Aiyuk versus liking Lance on the team “right now.” There is a vastly different tone in those two conversations with two different players.
Does that mean that Trey Lance is definitely getting traded? Absolutely not. However, it definitely sounds like the 49ers are much more open to that possibility after the way Purdy impressed them (and earned the starting job entering the offseason) than they ever would’ve been otherwise.