Could you imagine the cryptic tweets Steve Young would send if social media existed when he was backing up Joe Montana? Or the videos Garrison Hearst would’ve posted to his Instagram story as he realized the writing on the wall that Kevin Barlow would be his successor?
We overreact to everything a player posts on social media these days and act like Sherlock Holmes to connect the dots. On Monday morning, 49ers quarterback Trey Lance posted the following:
Trey Lance shared this on his IG. pic.twitter.com/Ruy3XKnmtL— Ryan G Hensley (@ryanghensley) June 5, 2023
For the following 24 hours, “we” did our best to decipher what Trey meant. It didn’t help when Matt Maiocco added fuel to the fire by saying Lance and Sam Darnold have zero chance of beating out Brock Purdy if he’s fully cleared and ready to play by Week 1.
Matt felt as though he was misinterpreted. To be fair, he had plenty of qualifiers. But he’s not the only one making similar assumptions. Here’s what Bleacher Report’s Kristopher Knox had to say:
Desperate for a long-term answer at quarterback, the 49ers traded up to the No. 3 slot in the 2021 draft. They ultimately settled on Trey Lance and were prepared to turn the offense over to him last season.
However, Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury just two games into the 2022 season. He watched as Jimmy Garoppolo, and later rookie seventh-rounder Brock Purdy, steered San Francisco into the NFC title game.
Purdy, who went 5-0 and posted a 107.3 passer rating in the regular season, may now be the 49ers’ quarterback of the future. He’s recovering from elbow surgery but is expected to compete with Lance for the starting job in training camp. If he’s healthy, Purdy should be considered the favorite.
“I think Brock has earned the right with the way he played that he’s probably the leader in the clubhouse at that,” general manager John Lynch told reporters in March.
While the 49ers don’t want to be left without an available starter, they signed Sam Darnold as insurance this offseason. They have to consider trading Lance now while he still has some reasonable value.
And Lance’s value lies in the fact that he’s an unknown. Right now, he can be viewed as a young dual-threat signal-caller with a high first-round pedigree and untapped potential. Should Lance lose the quarterback competition to Purdy or, in a worst-case scenario, Darnold, he’ll likely be viewed as a bust.
Assuming Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan truly believe Purdy can be “the guy,” their best move is to trade Lance before his value is completely tanked.
Kyle Shanahan was asked if he’s spoken to Lance about a potential trade in the event that Brock Purdy is ready for Week 1. Empathically, Shanahan said, “no.”
Tight end George Kittle gave an honest assessment about what he’s seen from Lance: “I’m not going to lie to you, I think Trey looks significantly better than he did last year. I really do. I think his confidence is there. I think that he’s throwing really good passes.
He overthrows people once in a while. Hey, it is what it is. He’s still learning and stuff. But I mean, just watching him, he just looks so much more comfortable and confident in the pocket, and I really apprecaite that from him, from all the work that he’s put into it.
Over the course of my career, when guys are lacking confidence or something, you can tell. And I haven’t seen that from him at all this year. He has energy to him. He has this passion to him. You can see a smile on his face. He’s celebrating with the guys. You can tell he’s having fun out there, and that just makes football a lot easier.”