A new page has been written in the storied rivalry between the San Francisco 49ers and quarterback rumors, with Ian Rapoport reporting on Wednesday that the 49ers have received calls regarding a potential Trey Lance trade.
However, both Rapoport and Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area have said that while the 49ers are taking calls, they’re not seeking to trade the quarterback.
All of this makes sense on paper. The 49ers have been non-committal on Lance, who by Week 1 could be anywhere from QB1 to QB3, depending on Brock Purdy’s recovery and the result of a potential Lance/Sam Darnold competition.
Quarterback-needy teams see this lack of commitment as a chance to call the 49ers and see what it would take to acquire the quarterback. Business as usual – or so it seems.
There’s a bit of a gray area in this report. The 49ers taking calls but not seeking to move Lance leaves an opening for the thought that Lance could be made available. If Lance wasn’t, why would the 49ers be taking the calls? Due diligence is the obvious answer, but why add the detail they aren’t looking to move him? They might not be looking, but could they be negotiated into a Lance trade?
Let’s dive into these rumors. What are the 49ers taking calls on Lance for?
The asking price should be sky-high, as the 49ers should have little motivation to trade Lance, at least for now. Fair or not, all signs point toward Purdy being the starter when healthy, but Purdy’s timetable is still pretty vague.
That leaves San Francisco with Lance and Darnold as their two healthy options entering camp. With how much the 49ers gave up to draft Lance, they should take every chance they get to see if he can develop into what many hope he can become.
So, what would it take to meet that sky-high price? It should either be a first-round pick or a proven NFL-level starting quarterback.
The first-round pick trade scenario is pretty easy to map out. A team like Houston could have been a team to call on Lance offering a second-round pick, an offer good enough to get the 49ers to pick up the phone but not enough to make the move. If that offer at any point changes to one of Houston’s two first-round picks, that could change the 49ers’ mind on not seeking a trade.
The proven starting quarterback option is where this conversation becomes familiar. There have been continuing rumors about the Minnesota Vikings looking to move on from Kirk Cousins sooner rather than later. He’s scheduled to hit free agency after the upcoming season, leaving Minnesota with a potential quarterback problem if not solved before the season.
If Minnesota were to acquire Lance, it would give them a cheap option to solve. A potential trade with Lance and Cousins as the centerpiece could be beneficial for both sides. Minnesota would get a young replacement for Cousins on a rookie deal, and Kyle Shanahan would finally acquire Cousins after years of rumors.
As always, at this time of year, rumors are flying around and teams are doing their homework on anything and everything. Is it likely the 49ers trade Lance before the draft? Probably not. Have the 49ers left themselves open to this type of speculation? Absolutely.