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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Kyle Madson

Available QBs show why 49ers can’t trade Trey Lance

The 49ers probably should not trade quarterback Trey Lance. Not even for a deal laid out by ESPN where San Francisco sends Lance and draft picks to the Buccaneers for a couple picks.

Maybe San Francisco is shopping the QB. Maybe they’re not. The fact remains that any realistic deal they’re going to get for Lance is not going to help them win a Super Bowl this year, whereas having Lance might.

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In Shanahan’s six seasons as the 49ers’ head coach, the team has needed more than one quarterback in five of them. They’ve used three QBs in four of the six, and their third QB last year was Brock Purdy who helped get the team to the NFC championship game.

This offseason the 49ers kept Lance and Purdy, and signed former No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold to help bolster the quarterback room. Brandon Allen was added during the offseason program to be the third QB in case Purdy had to miss a significant portion of camp.

Allen’s presence led to the idea that he could be the third quarterback, which makes Lance potentially expendable. The problem with that is Lance has been perhaps the team’s second-best QB in camp while Allen is getting zero 11-on-11 reps in the all-important joint practices with the Raiders.

The 49ers aren’t in a place where they can just give up a capable quarterback (especially one who may be the frontrunner for their QB2 job) for something that isn’t going to help them this season, like picks in next year’s draft. Reserve quarterbacks are simply too valuable for them, particularly coming off a year where they saw three quarterbacks get hurt en route to losing another NFC title game.

Keeping Allen over Lance puts the club in a position where Allen could too easily wind up playing heavy playoff snaps for a team that’s trying to win the Super Bowl. That goal becomes far more unrealistic if Allen, who is a fine backup, steps in as QB1. Keeping him three injuries away from starting instead of two is probably something the 49ers should be aiming to do.

A more ideal plan would be to keep Purdy, Lance and Darnold as the three QBs on the active roster. They can do this comfortably and for relatively cheap. Then they release Allen, aiming to re-sign him to the practice squad where he can spend the year with the team and be an emergency fourth option in the same vein as Josh Johnson in the NFC championship (and apparently Philip Rivers).

If they get rid of Lance and keep Allen on the active roster, their emergency fourth options become very limited, and would probably make their quarterback room worse. Here are some of the available free agent, non-rookie QBs according to Over the Cap:

Carson Wentz

This man was working out in a Philadelphia Eagles helmet, Washington Commanders practice jersey and Indianapolis Colts shorts. Kyle Shanahan might suit up to play quarterback before signing Wentz.

Matt Ryan

Jenna Watson/IndyStar / USA TODAY NETWORK

If a Ryan-Shanahan reunion was going to happen, it would’ve happened already. And it’s hard to believe Ryan is leaving his cushy new TV analyst job to sit behind Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold.

Tom Brady

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Your eyes just lit up a little, didn’t they? Stop it. Knock it off. He’s done playing football (Probably. Maybe.), and he’s certainly done if the only job is that of a third-stringer waiting for a couple injuries to get in the game. The Brady thing can come up if the 49ers sustain a couple injuries under center. Until then … kaput.

Joe Flacco

Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

This is Joe Flacco of Joe Flacco fame. He is probably the best of the realistic options on this entire list which sort of makes the point, but we’ll keep going just to really drive it home.

Nick Foles

John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Did you know Nick Foles translates to “putting a small cut on a baby horse”? (Editor’s note: Nick Foles played for the Colts?!?!?)

Chad Henne

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Chad Henne is the Joe Montana of Brandon Allens. (Editor’s note: He’s also retired).

Chase Daniel

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Daniel is the Joe Flacco of Brandon Allens.

Jarrett Guarantano

(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Okay. We’ll bite. Who is Jarrett Guarantano? (Editor’s note: It turns out he’s the only quarterback in Washington State history to not throw for 6 million yards in a season).

Bryce Perkins

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Perkins completed 13-of-23 throws for 100 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in his only start last season. He also added nine rushes for 44 yards in that game – a 26-10 loss to the Chiefs. Trading Lance to sign Perkins would be a little bit hustling backwards.

Philip Rivers


Apparently this was a thing last year, so walk with us on a journey through our image database. When ‘Philip Rivers’ is entered into the search bar, the first three photos are defenders who have intercepted Philip Rivers. The next one is Rivers at a high school baseball game. Then there’s another defender intercepting Rivers. Then there’s one captioned: “Colts quarterback Philip Rivers pleads his case to an official.” Then we finally get to the one posted above.

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