In 2022, San Francisco was expected to find a real answer to its quarterback situation with Trey Lance — third pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The franchise was looking to move in a new direction, a different route that would not have starter Jimmy Garoppolo in the picture.
However, while they’d find some type of answer to that question, it wouldn’t be with Lance. It took just two games for trouble to occur for the former North Dakota State quarterback in the form of a season-ending ankle injury. Worst of all, it would force him to the sidelines, unable to take advantage of a season that had real potential for a career year. Yet, he was unable to contribute and watched another young quarterback contribute in his spot. That young quarterback was Brock Purdy, the former seventh round pick out of Iowa State.
With the surprise season that Mr. Irrelevant had, a season that saw him surprise fans across the nation in his time on the field and lead the 49ers to an NFC Championship Game, San Francisco has an interesting problem on their hands. The team has voiced that Purdy has earned the right to be the starting quarterback with the run that he had, but are uncertain about his recovery after he tore his UCL in the NFC Championship Game. Purdy also personally told Yahoo! Sports that he himself is unsure if he’ll suit up for next season.
On the other hand, you have Lance, a player that’s shown little to give the team confidence in placing their future in his hands. That leaves his future up in the air and teams have certainly come calling. NFL insider Ian Rapoport confirmed that San Francisco has received several calls about Lance and with that price potentially being too good to decline, especially if the team is able to have confidence in Purdy, that potentially means that the Minnesota native would have a new team to call home in 2023.
With that being said, I selected three teams where I could see Lance playing in the upcoming NFL season.
The San Francisco 49ers
Why not give him another chance? There’s a ton of uncertainty with Purdy and this is a prime opportunity for Lance to step up and perform. They bet so much to select Lance in 2021, a package that included three first-round picks and a third round pick. He clearly has the talent to be a fantastic quarterback in this league and despite his lone complete game performance in 2022 resulting in a loss at Soldier Field, those weren’t the most ideal playing conditions to operate in. If you were to give him another shot in 2023 to really take advantage of a fresh start where he’s the man, that would really give a clear answer if San Francisco made the correct move to bet on the former North Dakota State product. This is certainly a quality option for the 49ers, especially with them not showing much aggression in throwing Lance’s name in trades. However, with what he’s shown thus far, that doesn’t mean he’s completely off the table for the right price, a cost that certainly won’t be cheap considering what they’ve paid for him.
New management is in town and the potential is there for a team to want to make a splash on a prize like Lance. The team currently doesn’t have a long term option at quarterback and if I’m Washington, I wouldn’t be very confident in having my starting quarterback be Jacoby Brissett. If San Francisco is willing to negotiate and takes a reasonable price that does not damage the future of the Commanders franchise, I’d jump at the opportunity to have Lance run my offense, especially with receiving options like Terry Mclaurin and Jahan Dotson. There’s the potential there to make a formidable offense with him in the mix, especially what he can also do as a strong dual-threat option. Keep in mind, this was a team that ranked in the bottom of the NFL in scoring and if Lance is available, he’s not only a player that can potentially flip the script on a mediocre scoring team, but also immediately be in the conversation for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. That’s a reality that plenty of NFL franchises would love to have, especially Washington.
If you want to find an NFL franchise that would be dying to have a player like Lance suit up for them in 2023, look no further than the Colts, who have struggled to find a long-term option ever since the departure of former superstar Andrew Luck. It’s shown on the stat sheet as the Colts were dead last in the NFL in total touchdowns and struggled to find consistent success under Jeff Saturday. However, that could very well change in 2023 with the hiring of Shane Steichen as head coach of the franchise. The team did lose quality defensive options like Stephon Gilmore, but the focus needs to be for the future and there’s not many better options than what Lance can bring to the table. He’s just twenty two years old and in a Steichen-led offense that was incredible last season and help push the Eagles all the way to the Super Bowl, you bet that it sounds like a match made in heaven for the Colts and a young quarterback. Indy obviously can’t stop there, but a core of Michael Pittman and Jonathan Taylor with Lance added to the mix starts to sound scary for NFL defenses to plan against during games. Just like the Commanders, if you can get San Francisco to budge for the right price without completely jeopardizing your future, it may be the best option with the uncertainty around drafting a franchise quarterback.