SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Even though the San Francisco 49ers have proclaimed Brock Purdy the leader to start at quarterback if he recovers in time from his elbow injury, they aren't yet ready to move on from the player they drafted two years ago to be their franchise quarterback.
General manager John Lynch said Monday that the team has gotten some calls inquiring about the availability of Trey Lance, but none of those has reached the level where San Francisco would be willing to change plans of having a quarterback room of Purdy, Lance and free agent acquisition Sam Darnold.
“I think there’s a lot of smoke really,” Lynch said. “It hasn’t been extremely active, and it’s not like we’ve put it out there that, ‘Hey, we’re taking offers for Trey, call 1-800 ...' That’s not been the process. People’s job in this is to ask questions. Has that happened on a couple occasions? Sure. It hasn’t been that substantive and like I said, we’re focused as is Trey on his ability to compete and play an integral role on this team.”
The Niners invested heavily in Lance two years ago when they traded a package that included three first-round picks to move up nine spots to draft him third overall.
After spending most of his rookie season as the backup to Jimmy Garoppolo and then going down with a season-ending broken ankle in the first quarter of his second start last season, Lance has been unable to prove that he was worthy of that investment.
Lance has thrown only 420 passes the past five seasons combined in college and the pros and fell behind Purdy in the QB pecking order in San Francisco after Purdy won his first seven starts to help the 49ers reach the NFC title game last season.
“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 to number one, get healthy, number two, improve upon some things that he really wanted to improve upon."
While the Niners believe in Purdy, the questions about his health make it difficult for them to want to move on from Lance. Purdy injured his right elbow in the NFC title game and underwent surgery in March.
He isn't expected to be able to start throwing until June and might not be ready to play in Week 1, making it difficult for San Francisco to trade Lance until they have a better sense of Purdy's timeline.
“You definitely have to take that into account and we’ve approached it that way as good as we feel about Brock’s rehab,” Lynch said. "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. We’re excited about that.”
The Niners started their offseason program last week and all three quarterbacks have been on hand for meetings and some informal work on the field for Lance and Darnold.
The 49ers expect to have a better sense of Purdy's status come June when he is able to start throwing, but remain hopeful he will be ready for the season.
“He’s doing really well,” Lynch said. "As I understand it, he’s definitely on schedule hitting all the checkpoints and we’re very encouraged by his rehab.”