49ers won’t trade Trey Lance for this glaring reason

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Talk of the 49ers trading Trey Lance amid the 2023 NFL Draft is heating up, but there’s an awfully simple reason why the Niners won’t pull off such a move.

On Wednesday, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the San Francisco 49ers were getting phone calls from other teams asking whether or not they’d be willing to trade quarterback Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick from the 2021 NFL Draft for whom the Niners gave up significant capital to acquire.

And a player who has just four regular-season starts since going pro; his career hindered by a season-ending ankle injury a year ago.

It’s not a massive surprise. San Francisco seems poised to move forward with fellow quarterback Brock Purdy, who took over starting duties late last season and helped the 49ers get all the way to the NFC Championship game before suffering his own serious injury, a UCL tear, that required offseason surgery.

After the Niners onboarded former Carolina Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold and gave him $3.5 million guaranteed, one might assume Lance could be the odd man out entering 2023.

At least other teams are thinking the same way.

Sure, San Francisco could trade Lance if two conditions were met: Lance is no longer viewed as a cornerstone piece for the franchise, and another team is willing to offer up compensation that the 49ers would accept.

Here’s a simple reason why those conditions won’t be met, though.

Why 49ers won’t trade Trey Lance amid 2023 NFL Draft (or soon thereafter)

Trade speculation and rumors can generate plenty of smoke, and there are legitimate reasons why Lance could be on the trade block.

However, the Niners have an awfully simple reason why they don’t need to move their third-year pro.


According to Over the Cap, Lance is going to make $9.3 million against the cap this season, while Purdy is scheduled to make less than $900,000 and won’t even count for the offseason top-51 rule. Tack on Darnold’s $5.1 million total contract value, San Francisco is spending roughly $15 million on the position.

That’s extremely cheap. An average-level starting quarterback can easily make $20 million a year, so the 49ers have no reason to trim costs.

Especially in the wake of watching all three of their starting quarterbacks last year (including Jimmy Garoppolo) suffer serious injuries a season ago. And for those who subscribe to the idea that Purdy won’t be fully healthy by Week 1 and might not be a true QB1 despite his hot finish to 2022, retaining Lance is the preferred option.

Read More: Kyle Shanahan is wrongly handling his QB situation with Trey Lance

Yes, Purdy has shown far more at the NFL level than Lance, but an injury to a throwing arm is no joke. And while the Niners may be risking Lance’s already diminishing market value going even lower if he loses a starting bid to either Purdy or Darnold, waiting it out might actually be the smartest play.

Especially because the cost isn’t a factor. That’s massive.

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