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What comes next for Trey Lance now that the 49ers have named Sam Darnold as the No. 2 quarterback?

Having dropped even further down the pecking order, many are wondering whether the young quarterback will continue to play for the Niners.

Having dropped even further down the pecking order, many are wondering whether the young quarterback will continue to play for the Niners.

What a difference a year can make. It’s funny to think - if that’s the right word - that just a year ago Trey Lance was the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft and assumedly on his way to becoming the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback. That’s no longer the case.

49ers name Sam Darnold as No. 2 QB

While it may not be surprising, it’s certainly shocking. Trey Lance is now the San Francisco 49ers’ third-string quarterback after the team named Sam Darnold as its No. 2 behind starter Brock Purdy. It’s also worth noting that Lance was not present at Wednesday’s practice session. Of course the news follows his appearance at that very same No. 3 spot during the team’s second preseason game against the Denver Broncos on Sunday.

During that appearance, Lance threw an interception on his very first possession under center, however, he did go on to complete the game with 173 yards and a touchdown on 12 of 18 passing. Darnold, who played the large majority of the game’s first half registered 109 yards with a touchdown and an interception on 11 of 14 passing. As for Purdy, he started the game, but can still be said to be finding his rhythm after only recently returning from elbow surgery.

So, what’s up with Trey Lance?

That’s a good question. If we look at Lance’s performance in the preseason opener against the Raiders, he threw for 112 yards and a touchdown on 10 of 15 passing and was sacked four times. Darnold on the other hand, played after him and went 5 of 8 for 84 yards. That’s to say that in this preseason so far, Lance has actually produced better numbers than Darnold, however, his completion rate of 66.7% has been a little lower than Darnold’s who has registered 72.7%.

This of course begs the question, ‘Why demote him?’ From a certain perspective, it makes perfect business sense. At 23 years old, there is no doubt that the Niners can get a decent return for a quarterback who went as high as he did in the Draft. That’s almost certainly what the franchise is thinking now that they’ve found themselves a decent backup in Darnold. That’s before we consider the idea that despite his talent, they do have reason to be concerned about Lance’s fitness after he only played two games last season due to injury. Quite frankly, in his first two years with the 49ers, he started just four games and in those games, the team went 2-2 with him completing just over 50% of his passes. Yet, this is all just speculation. To date, the franchise has given no official word on whether or not it intends to trade Lance and if we’re honest, what they ask for should they decide to do so could well determine whether or not it even happens. Again, this is a young highly ranked pick that we’re talking about. For the moment, what we can say is that it’s highly likely that Lance’s days in the Bay are numbered, the question now is, ‘How long will it be?’