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49ers name Sam Darnold QB2; will explore options with Trey Lance

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said that trading Trey Lance is a possible scenario. Lance was not at practice on Wednesday.

Denver Broncos v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Kyle’s update, 12:32 p.m. PT: According to the beat reporters on hand, Trey Lance was not at practice.

NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport reported that the 49ers are naming Sam Darnold their No. 2 quarterback ahead of the 2023 regular season. You could see the writing on the wall with how the previous two preseason games played out.

Darnold looked more comfortable going through his reads and playing faster in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Shanahan was vocal about wanting a quarterback to “rip it,” and, even against the Broncos, there were still plays where Lance failed to pull the trigger.

So, what does that mean for Lance? Pelissero believes the 49ers could trade Lance as a possible solution. Lance won’t get the reps he needs to develop on the 49ers, which means he’ll only have practice time to improve. But Trey needs live game reps, and he won’t get those in San Francisco.

If you look at teams around the NFL that could use a quarterback, the pickings are slim. Well, to a degree. Everyone needs a quarterback, but what type of compensation would they be willing to part with, and what would the Niners be willing to accept? Then you have to think about if a team values Lance over the top quarterbacks in the following draft.

If I’m the Atlanta Falcons, I’m picking up the phone. The same could be said for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Perhaps, a team like the Detroit Lions would value Lance. In most scenarios, Lance would have to sit.

One way to look at this scenario, and this is ignoring plenty of mistakes the team has made along the way in Lance’s development, is that they can get more on the market for Lance than they can Darnold.

If the 49ers hold on to Lance, he could dress on game day, but he wouldn’t count toward the 46-man active list. There’s a scenario in which Lance could play then if Brock Purdy and Darnold both weren’t medically cleared to return. That’d relegate Lance, the former No. 3 overall pick, to “emergency quarterback.”

Rapoport said that the 49ers had a few trade discussions with teams before the NFL Draft, and those talks could pick up again. Stay tuned.