If the playing time during the second preseason game wasn’t enough of a tell, it’s now officially unofficial who the 49ers’ No. 2 quarterback will be.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, Kyle Shanahan has named Sam Darnold the backup to Brock Purdy and the organization is now “exploring options” with Trey Lance. That’s vague language, but it’s hard to square how that would mean anything other than looking for a possible trade.
Lance started the first preseason game but looked very shaky, and was relegated to basically the fourth quarter of the second preseason game where he looked better after a slow start. Darnold looked very strong in the first preseason game and has reportedly had a better camp. He also has 55 NFL starts to his name.
Though the 49ers traded three first round picks to draft Lance, Darnold is also a former No. 3 overall pick who is believed by some to have a similar upside. Due to injury, Lance hasn’t had the opportunity to get the reps he’s needed to develop, and now as the No. 3 in the QB room, won’t get them (barring injury) this season with the 49ers.
What the 49ers could get for Lance in a trade remains to be seen, and there is an argument for keeping him around considering the injury issues SF has had at the QB position over the years.