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According to NFL Network insiders Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport, the San Francisco 49ers have made the decision at quarterback. Brock Purdy is the starter, as expected. And Sam Darnold is the backup. Trey Lance, the #3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is third. For now.
It appeared earlier in training camp that Lance was the preferred backup option. He saw more first-team reps than did Darnold. But at some point, Darnold passed Lance on the depth chart.
Here’s what I wrote last month:
The San Francisco 49ers might have the most fascinating quarterback room in the NFL. Brock Purdy, assuming he’s healthy, appears to be the starter. There’s a competition for the backup spot between Trey Lance and Sam Darnold.
The most interesting piece of that first paragraph is that Purdy is a second-year player drafted 262nd overall in the 2022 NFL Draft. Lance (2021) and Darnold (2018) are both former #3 overall picks. Coming out of college, clearly Lance and Darnold had pedigree that Purdy did not.
Yet, here we are. Purdy is the starter. Darnold and Lance are fighting for second-string. And, if Sunday’s practice is any indication, Lance is currently ahead of Darnold… Lance received 12 first-team reps and Darnold just four.
Lance also started the team’s first preseason game over Darnold. But he struggled in that contest and his only touchdown was more a result of luck than anything else.
Sam Darnold appeared to overtake Trey Lance after 49ers first preseason contest
In their second preseason game, Brock Purdy started and Sam Darnold came in second. Lance was the third quarterback in the game, an indication that Wednesday’s news might be on the horizon.
Darnold completed 11-14 passes in the game and threw a touchdown and an interception. Lance took over after Darnold and played against mostly backups and third-stringers for the Denver Broncos.
Lance finished 12-of-18 passing for 173 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
But that wasn’t enough to overcome the decision that the 49ers seemingly already made. The team with Super Bowl aspirations is rolling with Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold.
Just yesterday, head coach Kyle Shanahan said Darnold and Lance would share the #2 duties. Which doesn’t seem especially plausible.
Will the San Francisco 49ers ultimately give up and trade Trey Lance?
Time will tell.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on X – formerly known as Twitter: @RealDanZak