However, those talks did not seem to have gone far.
“There was no trade market and Kyle Shanahan has said that they didn’t have any trade talks with teams. He’s not going anywhere right now,” Schefter said.
The obvious trade proposal that was floated all offseason was a deal including Kirk Cousins and Lance. The flirtation between the 49ers and Cousins is well-documented and there were rumors at the combine of a potential trade involving Cousins.
Given Schefter’s latest report, a potential trade package for Cousins likely would not have included Lance. Either the Vikings were not in on Lance or the 49ers wanted too much in a trade for the former No. 3 pick.
49ers Are Holding Tight Onto Trey Lance
Lance is in limbo after the 49ers traded three first-round picks to land the Minnesota native third overall in the 2021 draft. He earned the starting job to start the 2022 season but suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2.
Since then, the 49ers have had a revelation in seventh-round pick Brock Purdy, who is the presumptive starter, and made Sam Darnold a priority signing this offseason — spelling that Lance may become the third option in San Francisco’s quarterback room.
“Sam Darnold signed with the 49ers on the first day of free agency … that tells you that the team really liked that guy, and they really did like Sam Darnold. Let’s also be very clear that Brock Purdy, if he’s healthy, he’s the guy, he’s the starting quarterback, he’s the No. 1. If he’s not, if for some reason he can’t go, we’ll see how Darnold and Trey Lance do in camp this summer. My guess would be Darnold has a chance to really shine and excel.”
While San Francisco appears to be offloading its investment into Lance, the team’s unwillingness to pursue a trade could come from a place of pride.
“There’s legacy, there’s pride, there’s ego. There’s a lot of potential worry that you’re going to be viewed as a failure, especially when you trade a couple future first-round picks on it all,” McAfee said.
The 49ers’ timeline and Lance’s development have not aligned throughout his tenure. But the longer Lance sits the lower his value will become.
San Francisco may be hedging its hopes that Lance can overcome the competition in training camp, but if they remain stubborn in trade talks and get nothing from his stint, their decision could go down as one of the worst draft trades in recent memory — which the Vikings could use as leverage.
The Possibilities for Trey Lance in Minnesota
While the 49ers appear unwilling to trade Lance this season, another year of assessing their quarterback position could create the possibility of Lance being moved next offseason.
Lance’s $34 million rookie deal runs through the 2024 season and also includes a fifth-year option, which would cost roughly $20 million and is still inexpensive at the position.
Unless Lance plays this season, it’s unlikely Minnesota would exercise that option, but Lance has the potential of playing a prove-it season in Minnesota considering Cousins’ contract expires after this season.