Trey Lance trade talks haven't been 'substantive,' 49ers GM John Lynch says

The San Francisco 49ers reportedly fielded trade calls for quarterback Trey Lance as recently as a week ago, but general manager John Lynch didn't appear enthused by those conversations.

Lynch told reporters Monday that the 49ers haven't been actively shopping the former 2021 No. 3 draft pick and he expects Lance to be on the roster in 2023.

"I think there's a lot of smoke, really, and that it hasn't been extremely active," Lynch said. "And it's not like we've put it out there that, 'Hey, we're taking offers for Trey, call 1-800.' It's not been the process. People's job in this is to ask questions. Has that happened on a couple occasions? Sure. But it hasn't been that substantive.

"... I expect Trey to be here, and we're excited about Trey's ability to compete and what he can do for our franchise just as we were when we drafted Trey. ... He's done some different things in terms of his training this offseason. He's very encouraged by that, and we'll see when we get an opportunity to get out there on the field with him. But we have every reason to be encouraged as well."

Trey Lance has only started two games since 2021. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File)
Trey Lance has started only two games since 2021. (AP Photo/Godofredo A. Vásquez, File) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Lance opened the 2022 season as the 49ers' starting quarterback but suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the second game of the season. Even though Jimmy Garoppolo, who took Lance's place in 11 games this past season, signed with the Las Vegas Raiders, Lance appeared to have lost his job to 2022 seventh-rounder Brock Purdy.

Lynch and 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan effectively named Purdy the starter after he finished the season with an impressive 5-0 regular-season record and 2-1 in the postseason before an elbow injury derailed his and the 49ers' Super Bowl aspirations. Lynch said in March that Purdy "earned that right to be the guy," while Shanahan said Purdy would "be the starter going into it.”

The issue, though, is Purdy may not be healthy for the start of the 2023 season. His elbow injury required surgery to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL), which could sideline Purdy for most of the offseason. Lance would likely be the next man up if Purdy isn't ready — unless the 49ers traded him. Free-agent quarterback Sam Darnold is also in tow after he began his career with the New York Jets and the Carolina Panthers.

"As good as we feel about Brock's rehab, I think we have to prepare for every scenario," Lynch added, "but more so we're just excited about having three really quality quarterbacks in our room and letting those guys go out and compete and vie for a job."

It's hard to conceive Lance's value given his limited reps on the field over the past four years. He's attempted only 102 career passes in 11 NFL games and played only one game in a pandemic-shortened 2020 college season at North Dakota State. There was speculation Lance wanted to join former 49ers executive Ran Carthon, who became the Tennessee Titans general manager this offseason, but Lance denied those allegations.

There are plenty of teams that could use a young quarterback. Lance will be 23 when the season starts and showed flashes of ability in his limited time with the 49ers.