SANTA CLARA — Quarterback Trey Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, currently is in a state of limbo with the 49ers.
The team is in the process of “exploring all options,” a source confirmed Wednesday morning to NBC Sports Bay Area.
At this point, Lance could remain with the 49ers or be dealt elsewhere in a trade. His status remains unclear and undetermined as the 49ers are set to conclude their preseason on Friday night against the Los Angeles Chargers at Levi’s Stadium.
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The NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport were first to report that the 49ers have decided on Sam Darnold to serve as the backup to Brock Purdy and Lance’s future with the organization is “unclear.”
Darnold seemingly has won the backup job after a strong training camp. His vast NFL experience (55 starts) has given him an edge to fill a spot on the depth chart in which practice time is limited once the season begins.
Darnold, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, has been up-and-down in his five NFL seasons with the New York Jets and Carolina Panthers.
But coach Kyle Shanahan has spoken favorably of Darnold since he signed with the club in the offseason.
San Francisco 49ers
“He's been real consistent in everything,” Shanahan said on Tuesday. “He didn't come in the first day just owning it all because you can't when you don't have the experience.
But each day that he's done it he's gotten better and better, and he just looks more and more comfortable in everything he is doing.”
With Lance’s status up in the air, the 49ers could go with Brandon Allen as the No. 3 quarterback if the club is able to work out a deal to find a new team for Lance.
Lance had the best training camp of his short NFL career, but the 49ers appear ready to move on from a player they traded up to select out of North Dakota State.
Lance entered last season as the starter. However, he never got a chance to play and develop due to a fractured lower leg and ankle ligament damage he sustained in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks.
Purdy ended up taking over as the starter late in the season and played well enough to win the 49ers’ starting job for the foreseeable future.