49ers quarterback Trey Lance, the former No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft after San Francisco traded three first round picks to get him, has been named the team’s third-string quarterback this season. So, many have speculated that a trade could be in the cards with Brock Purdy as the future and Sam Darnold as the backup. The problem is, at this stage—with several teams adding quarterbacks in the draft, and now with the season just two weeks away—finding a trade partner is no easy task. There are two options that stand out, and a couple more that could be wild cards.
With Kirk Cousins at 35 years old, the Vikings figure to need a new franchise quarterback within the next couple of years—so they might want to get creative by targeting a former top-three draft pick in what likely would not be a costly trade. Lance is from Minnesota, and he has the type of skillset that head coach Kevin O’Connell might think he can mold behind Cousins for a year or two (Lance is still just 23). However, again, at this stage in the NFL calendar, now might not be the time for the move:
As the #49ers weigh options for Trey Lance, calling his hometown team, the #Vikings (who were a rumored destination before the Draft) makes sense. Nothing is impossible, but MIN has a backup in Nick Mullens and drafted rookie QB in Jaren Hall. Post-draft, these deals are harder.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 23, 2023
The Falcons have made it clear that they are high on last year’s third-round pick Desmond Ridder at quarterback, and Taylor Heinicke is locked in as a strong backup. However, Atlanta might be another team that sees Lance as a potential cheap option to acquire a talented player to throw into the mix at the most important position in sports. One scenario is Atlanta giving Ridder several weeks, and if they don’t like what they see before the trade deadline, they can trade for Lance to get him in the building with an eye on letting him compete for the starting role in 2024.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
During free agency, the Bucs quickly targeted former No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield to be their starting quarterback, and he was officially named the starter this week. Former second-round pick Kyle Trask has also had a solid summer, but it might make sense to take another dart throw while trying to find a franchise quarterback. Maybe Bruce Arians, who still serves a role for the Bucs, liked Lance entering the league? It’s not crazy to think Tampa would want to part with late-round pick to get Lance if that’s where the price is for San Fran.
Las Vegas Raiders
The Raiders were one of those teams that added a quarterback in the draft (Purdue’s Aidan O’Connell, who has looked very good this preseason). They have Jimmy Garoppolo and hope to compete for a playoff spot in Year 2 under Josh McDaniels. Lance might not fit the mold for McDaniels, but he did some good things with Cam Newton in New England, and Vegas might make the move if they feel Lance can improve the football team—even if in situational packages.
Sticking with the AFC West, perhaps the Broncos are another team that should be mentioned if Sean Payton happened to have a high grade on Lance coming out of North Dakota State. Overall, with the 2024 quarterback class looking excellent, the most likely scenario at this point might be that Lance remains in San Francisco as the third quarterback—or he’s cut with the opportunity to choose among the interested teams around the league.