The San Francisco 49ers have the best problem an NFL organization can have, and that’s having too many good quarterbacks on the roster.
Currently on the roster, the 49ers have Trey Lance, Brock Purdy, and Sam Darnold. All three are young QBs who can start for multiple teams in the NFL.
Last year, the 49ers went through this very same situation. Lance was the starter, while Jimmy Garoppolo was his backup on a one-year deal. It worked out in the end as Lance went down with a season-ending injury in Week 2, so Garoppolo slotted in. Then Garoppolo got hurt halfway through the season, and then the legend of Purdy was born.
After his superb play last season and even post-injury, Purdy is lining up to become the starter heading into Week 1. The issue is that the 49ers traded away three first-round picks and a third-round pick to take Lance No. 3 in the 2021 NFL Draft. And having him backup Purdy when Darnold can do that seems like a waste.
The 49ers currently have the second-best odds to win the Super Bowl at +700, according to Caesars Sportsbook. That doesn’t look like it will change once Purdy is announced as the starter.
San Francisco has had some conversations this offseason about potentially trading away Lance since they seem happy deploying Purdy as the starting quarterback.
So which teams should trade for Lance?
The current quarterbacks on the Houston roster are Davis Mills, Case Keenum, and E.J. Perry, so an upgrade at the position is definitely needed. The Texans have the No. 2 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, so that they could take a quarterback there. But if they decide not to, Lance can be the answer to their problems.
Houston has been dropping hints that they might not take a quarterback with their pick and go with the best player available. The only reason they should do that is if they have another quarterback locked in, such as Lance.
New head coach DeMeco Ryans is quite familiar with Lance, having been on the 49ers staff as an assistant since 2017. The familiarity with Lance is a huge pro that will give Ryans plenty of assurance in his first season with the Texans.
Lance will enter his third season in the NFL, so the Texans won’t have to completely restart with a rookie QB and instead get a player ready for an opportunity he was supposed to get last season.
All offseason, the Ravens have been dealing with the Lamar Jackson situation and whether he’ll be with the team or not entering the 2023 season. One way they can solve this issue is by sending Jackson to the 49ers in exchange for Lance and some picks.
What is the likelihood of this happening? It’s slim, but you never know what could happen on draft night.
Trey Lance is no Lamar Jackson, but Lance is an athletic quarterback like Jackson. Baltimore still has Mark Andrews as a perfect safety blanket for any young QB, along with signing Odell Beckham Jr. this offseason.
Baltimore has a solid core group of young players as well in J.K. Dobbins, Rashod Bateman, and Devin Duvernay. If things continue to sour with Jackson, getting Lance would be a significant upgrade from Tyler Huntley.
Kirk Cousins is in the final year of his deal with the Vikings, so the team needs an answer at quarterback after this season. This is where Lance would fit perfectly.
Lance is coming off a season-ending ankle injury suffered in Week 2 of last season, and though he should be ready by training camp, it wouldn’t hurt not to rush back into play. Sitting behind Cousins for a year would benefit him greatly.
It would be the perfect transition year for Lance, who can learn under a seasoned pro and grasp the playbook fully. By the time the 2024 NFL season rolls around, the Vikings will have their future in the hands of Lance, who will be 24 years old.
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