What's next for Trey Lance after 49ers reveal Brock Purdy is back healthy?

Trey Lance won't get as many chances to impress the 49ers coaching staff in training camp in the wake of Brock Purdy's recent news.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance / David Berding/GettyImages

The 49ers announced Brock Purdy will partake in training camp, which isn't exactly great news for Trey Lance.

He'd never publicly say it. But there has to be a part of quarterback Trey Lance that wishes his fellow San Francisco 49ers signal-caller, Brock Purdy, wasn't quite ready to return from last January's UCL tear and subsequent surgery.

With the Niners kicking off training camp 2023 this week, an injured Purdy would have opened the door significantly wider for Lance to showcase his talents, ones that haven't had much of a chance to be displayed since San Francisco aggressively traded up to draft him back in the 2021 NFL Draft at No. 3 overall.

His rookie season, Lance was taking a back seat to then-starter Jimmy Garoppolo. When Lance was finally handed the starter's keys in 2022, he broke his ankle two games into the regular season and missed the rest of the year.

That ultimately led to Purdy's rapid ascent and effective claim on the 49ers' starting crown.

However, on Tuesday, general manager John Lynch revealed to the press that Purdy would not start off camp on the physically unable-to-perform list, which was expected after spending months recovering from surgery and building up his arm strength.

No, Purdy will be active and ready to participate in camp, even if it's on a limited basis.

What Brock Purdy's return to 49ers training camp means for Trey Lance

Lance is still in a hot competition with another No. 3 overall pick, Sam Darnold, for the primary job of backing up Purdy this season, although both Lance and Darnold will see their snap count with the first-string unit diminished significantly with Purdy back.

It's important to note the 49ers are giving Darnold $3.5 million in guaranteed money, which means he's not going anywhere by the way of a roster cut, and that's another problem for Lance.

Up to this point, the rumor mill has suggested zero trade interest for Lance, which would indicate his stock is at an all-time low. Should Lance lose to Darnold, it'd be even lower.

So, while it's feasible that Lance could demand a trade, it might actually benefit him to stick around with the Niners and hope for another opportunity, perhaps one in light of Purdy struggling in year two of his own pro career.

Or another injury. San Francisco's quarterbacks can't seem to avoid those, right?

Will another NFL team trade for Trey Lance?

The 49ers can afford to be patient on the Lance front, too. After all, he's entering year three on his cheapish rookie deal and will earn $9.3 million this season. Combined with Darnold's deal, as well as a can't-crack-the-top-51-contracts deal for Purdy, there's no urgency to save money under center.

Plus, knowing that quarterbacks do get injured in training camp and the preseason, the Niners may follow NFL Network's Ian Rapoport's suggestion of looking to trade Lance later this summer, perhaps in August when those injuries would be likely to occur.

And San Francisco could even wait until up to the NFL trade deadline, too, should the right suitor come forth with an offer that would make sense.

Regardless, at least right now, Lance has to be disappointed in the reality that his biggest shot to reclaim his starting job with the 49ers just evaporated.

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