Trey Lance will never be 49ers starting quarterback (and that's OK)

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks
San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

As we get closer to Week 1, Trey Lance has slipped down the depth chart while Brock Purdy is the one handed the keys to the franchise. Despite this, it's still not horrible for the 49ers.

There's an important part about building a roster that separates the good teams from the horrible, and that's the ability to recognize a sunk cost and move forward if something better presents itself.

Let's make no mistake about quarterbacks Trey Lance and Brock Purdy. The former is a No. 3 overall pick that the San Francisco 49ers traded significant draft capital to take, the latter is a former Mr. Irrelevant that came from obscurity to take the NFL by storm.

And yet there's simply no debate about who the starter is, and the Niners were very clear about it.

Purdy is the man that has the keys to the franchise, draft position be damned.

Read More: 49ers vs. Broncos: Sam Darnold to separate from Trey Lance for QB2 role

Lance is significantly more athletically gifted with a better arm and faster legs. He's more powerful to boot, and he's a perfectly nice kid who doesn't have any problems off the field.

The problem is mental, Purdy is a much more complete quarterback. His quick thinking, blitz recognition abilities and his charismatic leadership are infectious. His supposed noodle arm was shown to be way overblown as he has functional deep-ball abilities (and importantly, accuracy), and he's fast and agile enough to extend plays and make runs with his feet.

All of that can be summed up in his best throw in all of 2022, which was a throw he did not complete.

Purdy had his preseason debut as a starter against the Denver Broncos and looked as exciting as he did in 2022 (albeit with a smaller sample size) with a virtually perfect 4-for-5 passing for 65 yards. Keep in mind also that the incompletion was thrown away.

Lance had a mixed day as the third quarterback on the field for San Francisco. He threw an interception early and had a second pick dropped, but he recovered to have some nice throws to go 12-of-18 for 173 yards and one touchdown to go with that pick.

The only problem: He did it against third-stringers and practice squad candidates.

Sometimes, teams draft a bust and that's something every team has to face, it takes exceptional courage however to admit when you're wrong and go in a different direction. While head coach Kyle Shanahan is not on the hot seat (and it's ridiculous for anyone to think he shouldn't be the head coach for the foreseeable future), he should still be applauded for not sticking to a lost cause and moving on.

This isn't the end for Lance in the NFL, but the only way he will be a starter for the 49ers again is if he stays on the roster as a backup and gets a chance to start again due to injuries. In a way, that would be a fitting twist in his career.

But most likely, he will be traded at some point and try to find a home elsewhere.

Purdy is the quarterback for the 49ers and not Lance, and that's OK.

Next. 6 takeaways from 49ers 21-20 preseason win over Broncos. 6 takeaways from 49ers 21-20 preseason win over Broncos. dark