49ers rumors: Trey Lance over Mac Jones, why Sam Darnold might be QB2

ESPN’s Adam Schefter appeared on The Pat McAfee Show Wednesday, discussing Brock Purdy’s recovery schedule, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold. It seems like every update reads like the previous one.

Schefter stated the obvious, saying there was never much of a trade market for Lance: “There really was never a lot of interest in Trey Lance. Because what they gave up and what they get back, which isn’t very much at all, it doesn’t sense to trade him. There was no trade market and Kyle Shanahan has said they had no trade talks with teams. He’s not going anywhere right now. He’s there.”

San Francisco moving on from Lance for a Day 3, or maybe even a conditional pick, made little to no sense, especially since they’re still unsure of their No. 3 overall pick and what he brings to the table.

Speaking of the No. 3 overall pick, it wouldn’t be a 49ers discussion if there wasn’t misplaced faith in Darnold. Here’s Schefter on the Niners signing a free agent:

“Now I will say this, Sam Darnold signed with the 49ers on the first day of free agency. And if there’s a player who signs with the team on the first day, that tells you the team really liked that guy. And they really liked Sam Darnold. He looked at a couple of different options. He chose the 49ers.”

That’s fair when you’re talking about players who land with teams on the first day of free play. It is generally a sign that both sides looked at each other. There’s no doubt that Darnold is a good fit for what Shanahan wants from his quarterbacks. Darnold is enough of a risk taker to raise the ceiling of this offense. But will he be consistent enough? We’ll find out at training camp.

Schefter made it clear that the job is still Purdy’s to lose when he’s healthy. He also said that Darnold has a leg up on Lance. This is where it’s hard to tell when Schefter is sharing his opinion or what he’s being told. More from Schefter:

“Brock Purdy is the only one if he’s healthy. And I think going into camp, I think Sam Darnold has the advantage going into camp. But by the way, Trey Lance could play well. He worked out over the summer with Patrick Mahomes and I heard he’s made a huge improvement. I’m excited to see how much he’s improved and if he can make that jump. Let’s see.”

Schefter also said Darnold “has a chance to really shine and excel.” If you’re a quarterback, whether you’re No. 3 overall, last pick in the draft, Jimmy Garoppolo, you name it, and can’t excel with the weapons of the 49ers, this job might not be for you.

More Mac Jones

The national reporters still have egg on their faces after swearing the 49ers would pick Mac Jones No. 3 overall. Logically, it never made sense to trade a quarterback who doesn’t possess the physical gifts to warrant such a high pick.

There have been plenty of excuses, and according to Schefter, the 49ers fell in love with Lance at the last minute, which, after months of research, led them away from selecting Jones:

“I don’t think that’s right. I’m just telling you that they acted with idea that they loved Mac Jones, okay? When they made that trade, they traded up with the idea that they were going to draft Mac Jones while also having — I think it was six weeks until the draft, maybe a little less — a month or so to look at the other perspectives.

And as they looked at the other perspectives, they fell in love with the intangibles that Trey Lance demonstrated. He tested and tested off the charts in terms of intelligence. They brought him into the building. The guy was ultra-impressive. And while they toyed with the idea of ​​picking Mac Jones while doing their job, they fell in love with this guy and the upside he had.

And I think they felt that if they take Mac Jones, then their offense, which a lot of teams run versions of and they copy what they do, will continue to be duplicated. But it would be harder to duplicate what they do with a guy like Trey Lance freelancing and playing spontaneous football the way he does.

And then eventually they went after the guy with the bigger upside, a guy who had big intangibles, and they went after Trey Lance. But I’m telling you, when they made the deal, the motivation in the first place was Mac Jones.”

The most plausible part of Schefter’s statement is when he talked about not being able to replicate the offense with Lance. Shanahan has said in the past that it will become more and more difficult as his offense spreads around the league.

But I call BS on Schefter still digging his feet in that the pick was Jones. A few of us at Niners Nation have talked to people inside the building, and they were adamant that Kyle had his eye on Lance for a long time.

This tweet was from the college football season before 2021 NFL Draftand before Brock Purdy had declared.

Plus, at the time, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer had connected the Niners and Lance:

It was always Lance.

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