Kyle Shanahan: Trey Lance ‘has a chance to regain’ 49ers’ starting QB job

Mar 28, 2023, 11:30 AM | Updated: 8:43 pm

Trey Lance #5 and Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers on the field before the game against t...

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 15: Trey Lance #5 and Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers on the field before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lumen Field on December 15, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. The 49ers defeated the Seahawks 21-13. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers have entered another offseason with quarterback controversy. Surprised? Not really.

Amidst all of the injury speculation surrounding rookie sensation Brock Purdy, the 49ers have two other QBs on the roster: Sam Darnold and Trey Lance. The former was once touted to be the future of the position for the Red & Gold, but thanks to injuries he’s been sidelined for the better part of the last two years. 

Now entering year three in the NFL, Lance will need to prove his worth this season. And thanks to other injuries, the 49ers feel that the former first-round pick can shine just like Purdy did last season.

“We believe Trey can be that,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said at the NFL Owners Meetings Tuesday. “I think he would’ve done it last year if he stayed healthy. The good thing for him is with Brock being hurt, he has an opportunity to try to regain that.”

Suffering a season-ending ankle injury Week 2 of last season, Trey Lance will be ready to go by the start of OTAs in May. While Purdy won’t even be cleared to throw until June at the earliest. That means that the 49ers will have another QB battle this offseason, specifically centered around Trey Lance once gain.

“With Brock being hurt, it does open it up,” Shanahan added. “It does give [Trey Lance] a chance. I don’t know how Brock is going to come back or exactly when he’s going to come back.”

Shanahan also gave an update on Purdy’s recovery, undergoing offseason elbow surgery earlier this month. 

While 49ers’ general manager John Lynch said the team hoped to have him back for training camp, Shanahan was less optimistic. Purdy and the organization won’t have any further information until the 12-week benchmark from the operation. That marker should allow the Arizona native to begin throwing again. But until then, a range of outcomes are in play for next season.

“He won’t be able to do anything on the field until, who knows,” Shanahan continued. “It can be anywhere from six months to eight months. I think we’ll have a better idea…at three months out of surgery, they’ll have a better idea whether it’ll be six months or eight months. That’s how it heals. That’s all I know and I’m good with that.

We’ll see in three months if he’ll be ready for camp. If Brock throws, and he’s a little sore, it might be Week 1. I’m hearing at the latest it might be Week 4. It’s all estimations. We’ll see what happens.”

The Red & Gold prepared for this though, bringing in veteran Sam Darnold to provide competition this offseason. Both Shanahan and Lynch have indicated that Purdy has earned the right to start if he was healthy. Since he’s not, those plans have to be put on hold for the time being. 

“It’s why we brought in Sam, because we can’t be set for sure on Brock because you never know how the injury will go,” Shanahan stated. “We think it will go well. We’re optimistic about it, but right now that’s on hold. So that opens up an opportunity for Trey and for Sam to come in and show us what they have.”

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