49ers potential draft-day trade partners for Trey Lance (if that happens)

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) /
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Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /

The 49ers don’t seem like they’d fathom trading away Trey Lance by the 2022 NFL Draft, but if they did, these five teams could be in the running.

Full disclaimer before you scroll to the comments section and shout out “no way” or whatever, the San Francisco 49ers have about a five-percent chance of wanting to trade away their No. 1 investment from the 2021 NFL Draft, quarterback Trey Lance.

A brief point on that: The Niners already traded three first-round picks and a 2022 third-round selection to move up and grab Lance at No. 3 overall.

If Lance suddenly finds himself as trade bait, San Francisco’s decision-making process and talent evaluation need to be wholly revised and revamped.

Sure, Lance is no longer seeing the field during the second half of the regular season, as veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has stayed on it entirely, but the plan likely still remains: Garoppolo will be gone in 2022, and Lance will be the guy.

Except some in the media aren’t totally buying it.

Peter King says 49ers haven’t decided about Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance in 2022

Garoppolo has mostly played well in the second half of the season. Not great, but not terrible either. But winning five of their last seven has put the 49ers squarely back in the playoff discussion, and Garoppolo has a lot to do with that.

This certainly influenced NBC Sports’ Peter King to report what seems to be an uncertain future about the two quarterbacks next year:

"I’m told the Niners have not made up their minds, at all, about how to handle their quarterback situation in 2022 and beyond. They shouldn’t be. How do you know how Garoppolo will play down the stretch, and into a playoff run if that’s the fate of this season? I’m also told the Niners have been impressed, with Garoppolo’s career on the line, with how he’s handled this weird year, with Lance being the third pick in the draft and with Garoppolo expected to just handle things like a pro. He has."

As speculative as this sounds, let’s explore the possibility (however remote) the Niners are no longer sold on Lance as a franchise quarterback. Despite whatever head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have said, perhaps they’ve seen enough behind closed doors and practice fields to move on from Lance now and sell as high as possible.

And, to recoup whatever draft capital they can get back, they might explore trying to trade Lance to one of these five quarterback-needy teams in 2022.