Sam Darnold is the winner of the backup sweepstakes in San Francisco, and Trey Lance could be on the way out.
Darnold will be named the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback, beating out Lance for the job, NFL Media reported Wednesday. Brock Purdy will remain the team’s starting quarterback.
The 49ers’ decision to place Lance third on the depth chart could end his time in San Francisco. His future with the team is now “unclear” and the 49ers will explore what to do with the quarterback, NFL Media added in its report.
If the 49ers decide to move on from Lance, it would be one of the shortest tenures for a player on a team that selected him with a top-five pick in recent memory. Not only did the 49ers draft Lance with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, but they also surrendered three first-round picks and a third-round pick in order to select him out of North Dakota State.
The 49ers opted to take their time with Lance, having him back up Jimmy Garoppolo for the majority of the 2021 season. They made Lance the starter at the beginning of the 2022 season, but he suffered a season-ending ankle fracture in Week 2.
As Lance recovered following surgery, Garoppolo helped keep the 49ers on a contending path before suffering a foot injury late in the regular season. Purdy, a seventh-round rookie, played at an even higher level than both, winning his first seven starts before suffering an elbow injury in the first quarter of the 49ers’ NFC Championship Game loss.
Why Trey Lance will be 49ers’ QB3, not backup to Brock Purdy
San Francisco made it clear over the offseason that Purdy would be the starting quarterback if he was healthy. Even though the Niners let Garoppolo walk in free agency, they added Darnold, stirring competition for Lance entering training camp.
Lance and Darnold have each started one game in the preseason. Darnold has completed 16 of 22 passes for 193 yards, one touchdown and an interception while Lance has completed 22 of 33 passes for 285 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
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