John Lynch: Trey Lance didn't work out, but thank God for Mr. Irrelevant

In 2023, Brock Purdy became the 49ers' first Pro Bowl quarterback since Jeff Garcia in 2002. It was supposed to be Trey Lance doing what Purdy did.

The 49ers finally are done paying for the deal that moved them up to No. 3 overall in 2021 to select Lance. It cost them the 12th overall pick in 2021, a third-round pick in 2022, a first-round pick in 2022 and a first-round pick in 2023.

They would be in trouble if not for the selection of Purdy with the final pick in the 2022 draft.

Purdy won the job in 2022 after injuries to Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, and the 49ers traded Lance to the Cowboys for a fourth-round pick last August.

"[Ownership] believes in Kyle and I, and our leadership," Lynch said Monday, via David Bonilla of "When we think something's going to make us better, they say go for it, and they don't give us a lot of restrictions there. And that's comforting to know we can go be bold and do things like that.

"And yeah, we gave up a lot. We did it for reasons that we had, and motivations, and it didn't work out. But thank God for Mr. Irrelevant [Purdy]. He helped us."

Lance started only four games in his two seasons with the 49ers because of injuries. He did not play last season with the Cowboys, but he will get a chance to compete with Cooper Rush for the backup job behind Dak Prescott this year.

Lance is scheduled to become a free agent in 2025.

"I always am careful of this, because Trey Lance's story hasn't been written yet," Lynch said of Lance. "He's in Dallas right now, and I still think Trey's got good football in him. We'll see. That will play out. But I think, also, the freedom that, when you've done something, and you feel like maybe it can improve us to move on, we aren't beholden to, 'Well, we drafted the guy. We've just got to stick it out.' We can do the things we want to do, and I think that served us well."

The 49ers are built for sustained success despite their mistake in moving up to take Lance. They have two Super Bowl appearances since the 2019 season and are a favorite in the NFC going into this season.

They have 10 picks in this week's draft, including three in the top 100.

"We certainly study it, say what went right, what went wrong, and we do that with all our picks," Lynch said. "But I think we're in a real good place as a football team, as an organization, and we've got to find a way to get a little bit better. And that's the focus of this whole offseason, and this draft is an awesome opportunity to do just that."