Reports: Sam Darnold named QB2, 49ers exploring options with Trey Lance

Aug 23, 2023, 12:29 PM | Updated: 12:40 pm

Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the San Francisco 49ers runs under pressure from defensive end Georg...

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - AUGUST 13: Quarterback Sam Darnold #14 of the San Francisco 49ers runs under pressure from defensive end George Tarlas #79 and linebacker Curtis Bolton #36 of the Las Vegas Raiders during the third quarter of a preseason game at Allegiant Stadium on August 13, 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Raiders beat the 49ers 34-7. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

(Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

After almost a month of training camp, the 49ers have made their decision on who will be backing up Brock Purdy this season.

Reports surfaced Wednesday that the San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has named quarterback Sam Darnold as the team’s backup QB. The move means that fellow QB Trey Lance is on the fringes of the roster, with the team expected to explore options for the former third-overall pick.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero were first with the news, with local news outlets confirming the report thereafter.

The decision comes less than 24 hours after Shanahan told the media that he had not made a decision on the backup QB spot this season, wanting to get through the preseason first. The coach also mentioned the notion of alternating the backup throughout the regular season.

“I mean, I would think I’ll probably announce it before we play Pittsburgh, but not this game,” Shanahan stated Tuesday.

That is not the case, however, with the 49ers naming the veteran Darnold over Lance moving forward.

Sam Darnold, 26, joined the Red & Gold this offseason, signing a one-year deal worth up to $11 million. The USC alum has had an up-and-down career thus far, already on his third team in six seasons. Playing for the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers previously, Darnold has started 55 games in his NFL career. He has thrown for 11,767 passing yards, 61 touchdowns and 55 interceptions.

On the other hand, Trey Lance has only started four games in his career, barred by injuries and inconsistency.

Lance, 23, has thrown for 797 passing yards, five TDs and three INTs in eight games played total. He is 2-2 as the starting QB for the 49ers. Giving the keys to the kingdom last season, Lance suffered an ankle fracture in the second game of the 2022 regular season, ending his campaign.

This decision now allows Lance & the front office to explore options moving forward, including the possibility of a trade elsewhere. San Francisco reportedly shopped the QB at the NFL Draft this year, with no serious trade talks materializing.

Additionally, reports indicate that Trey Lance is not present for 49ers practice Wednesday. A difficult day for all involved, but mostly for Lance.

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