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Does Trey Lance Have Any Trade Value? NFL Execs Weigh In

With Trey Lance the third-string quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, teams looking for a young passer could trade for him.

The San Francisco 49ers and general manager John Lynch all but admitted that trading up for Trey Lance was a mistake.

Prior to the 49ers' preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers, NFL Network reported that Sam Darnold will serve as Brock Purdy's primary backup, and not Lance.

Lance's tumble to No. 3 on the depth chart has been a precipitous one.

Since Lynch and the 49ers traded three first-round picks and a third-round pick to move up from No. 12 to N0. 3 overall to select Lance, the 23-year-old appeared in only eight career games while battling through a torn ACL, fractured ankle, knee sprain, and a fractured finger.

Now, it seems far more likely that the 49ers will trade Lance than he ever suits up again in 49ers Red and Gold. That is, if they can find a market.

"I'm not sure I would trade for him," an NFC Offensive Coach told FanBuzz, on the condition of anonymity to speak freely. "I never really thought he could play. Maybe San Francisco gets a 6th or 7th-rounder for him? Maybe?"

The 49ers drafted Lance largely because of tantalizing potential they saw in his 18 collegiate starts at North Dakota State. However, multiple sources have repeatedly said that Lance has been "underwhelming" in practice since his arrival in the Bay area.

But, all it takes is one team to see the same potential Lynch, head coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers saw in Lance, or a team facing a desperate situation at quarterback to pick up the phone and offer San Francisco an asset.

"Lance has some [value] because of his contract and possible upside," a former general manager and current NFL executive told FanBuzz. "He should have been a third-round pick coming out.

"Here's the thing. He doesn't have much value other than that he still has two years and his fifth-year option on his contract. They'll struggle to move him because of all the quarterback talent at the top of next year's draft."

An AFC Scouting Director echoed those sentiments, adding he doesn't believe Lance has "much value at all ... Maybe a team takes a late-round flier on him."

Therein lies the dilemma front offices will face when it comes to Lance. Is he talented enough, and does he have enough upside to prove more valuable than taking a chance waiting for next year's draft?

Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field

Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

For Lance and the 49ers, it has been obvious for some time over the past two offseasons that he is not the long-term solution.

In limited action, Lance has completed 54.9 percent of his passes for 797 yards with five touchdowns to three interceptions, while rushing for 235 yards and another score.

Now, the question becomes whether Lynch is able to find a trade partner. If a market exists, and there might not, there are four teams that could make some sense for Lance as a fit:

Denver Broncos

Denver is tied to Russell Wilson this season, but it already sounds as though Sean Payton believes the former Super Bowl winner might need to play at a high level just to keep his starting job.

Neither Jarrett Stidham or Ben DiNucci offer the first-round allure or pedigree that Lance does, and if any head coach can get the most out of a quarterback, it's Payton. Beyond his influence over Drew Brees' future Hall of Fame career, some of Jameis Winston's best moments came while playing for Payton. Might Lance be Payton's next reclamation project?

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings seemingly are weighing a complete tear down, or moving forward with quarterback Kirk Cousins beyond 2023. Trey Lance could give the Vikings some added optionality for 2024 and beyond.

Lance could serve as Cousins' backup for a team that showed some interest in drafting him back in 2021, while having a year to learn the system and step into the starting role should a quarterback prospect Minnesota covets not be on the board when they go on the clock next spring. As the executive points out, having at least two years of team control on his contract could make Lance an attractive option given Minnesota's quarterback situation.

Green Bay Packers

The Green Bay Packers are Jordan Love's team, and Sean Clifford has had an impressive offseason since being chosen in the fifth-round of April's draft. But, is general manager Brian Gutekunst really going to go into Clifford and Alex McGough as Love's only backups?

For Lance, the opportunity to learn from head coach Matt LeFleur in a quarterback-friendly situation where he's the second-most experienced quarterback on the roster and could have the chance to compete if Love falters has to be alluring.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson has developed a merited reputation as a quarterback-whisperer, and Jacksonville has an explosive young roster around quarterback Trevor Lawrence who just might have the ability to play his way into the MVP conversation this season.

However, it's fair to wonder if Lance would be a downgrade over C.J. Beathard and Nathan Rourke. It would seem Lance would be a great fit to learn the system behind Lawrence, and if catastrophe strikes and Lawrence is forced to miss time, he would be able to step into an offense with the likes of Calvin Ridley, Christian Kirk, and Evan Engram to throw to.

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