SANTA CLARA, Calif. — After offering the biggest public vote of confidence yet in Brock Purdy as the San Francisco 49ers‘ starting quarterback on March 27, general manager John Lynch has seen an uptick in interest from other teams in another quarterback on the roster: Trey Lance.
At the league meetings in March, Lynch said that he and the Niners listen to everything when it comes to trades but that he envisioned Lance as a part of the team’s immediate future.
At his pre-draft news conference on Monday, Lynch reiterated that the 49ers aren’t actively shopping Lance.
“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.”
Lynch added that, despite receiving those calls from other teams about Lance, he envisions Lance being on the roster in 2023.
“Absolutely. 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,” Lynch said. “And I think the only thing that’s changed this offseason is that Trey’s gone and got himself healthy. He was injured last year. He’s done a really good job of doing that. 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.”
With Purdy still recovering from surgery on the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow and no certainty on when he will return, the only available quarterbacks the Niners have in their offseason program right now are Lance and Sam Darnold.
Lynch acknowledged that for the Niners’ position on Lance to change, they would need to receive a substantial offer and also noted that uncertainty surrounding Purdy is a factor in how any outside offers for Lance would be received.
“I think you definitely have to take that into account, and we’ve approached it that way,” Lynch said. “As good as we feel about Brock’s rehab, I think we have to prepare for every scenario, 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.”
Still, with so much outside speculation about Lance’s future with the team, Lynch said he found it necessary to talk to the third-year quarterback about the rumor mill.
According to Lynch, he wouldn’t normally do that unless the Niners were the ones shopping the player, but given the investment in Lance and the position he plays, it was necessary to have those conversations.
“Trey and I have talked and we’re on the same page, and Trey knows exactly where the situation is,” Lynch said. “His mindset is all about competing, and I think that’s exactly where his mindset should be. We’re excited about the position he’s put himself in with the work he’s done this offseason, and number one, get healthy. Number two, improve upon some things that he really wanted to improve upon.”
Purdy, meanwhile, is about six weeks removed from elbow surgery. The Niners and Purdy have maintained that they would have a better idea of a timeline for him to be cleared after the 12-week mark, which hits in early June.
For now, Purdy is attending the team’s offseason program and has ditched the brace he was wearing on his right elbow.
“He’s doing really well, and as I understand it, he’s definitely on schedule hitting all the checkpoints,” Lynch said. “We’re very encouraged.”
As for the seemingly nonstop rumors connecting the 49ers to star quarterbacks such as Lamar Jackson and Aaron Rodgers, Lynch again pointed out that the Niners internally discuss everything but also believe in their current signal-callers, and the reality of their roster, which features about a half-dozen players paid at the top of the market for their position groups, means a big swing at quarterback has been and remains unlikely.
“You look into everything and we seem to be linked to each and everything.” Lynch said. “I can tell you I think it’s how convicted we are on Brock on this current group of guys … You’re not doing your job if you don’t look into things. A lot of those things, I think, you’re limited by the way our roster is set up. And the other thing is you, what’s your motivation? And while those players, there’s more than just Lamar — there’s tremendous players, MVP-type players. We really like our guys and we like where we’re at. We like our complete roster and how they fit for multiple reasons, and we’re excited about that group.”
GM John Lynch says 49ers not actively shopping Trey Lance