Brock Purdy, the last selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, shocked the world when he took over the starting quarterback job for the San Francisco 49ers last year.
Purdy earned first shot at being the starter this year, but the interesting fight for the backup spot behind him pitted former No. 3 overall draft pick Trey Lance against journeyman quarterback Sam Darnold.
That battle has ended, per NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, and Darnold has been named the backup.
Darnold will back up Brock Purdy, while the future of Lance — the No. 3 overall pick in 2021 — is unclear. pic.twitter.com/HxXQkfM6nq
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) August 23, 2023
It has been a frustrating couple of years for Lance. He appeared in six games in 2021, primarily as Garappolo’s backup, and threw five touchdown passes.
Heading into the 2022 season, Lance was named the starter but suffered an ankle injury in San Francisco’s second game of the year, a win over the Seattle Seahawks.
It’s unclear what comes next for Lance. In theory, a trade would be the best for both the Niners and the quarterback, but San Francisco has not yet given any indication that they’re looking to move the third-year player. San Francisco traded three first-round picks to move up to select Lance in the 2021 NFL Draft.
There were plenty of reactions across social media to the report that Darnold beat out Lance to be Purdy’s backup.
I don't mind the Darnold as backup thing as much as I do a guy with Lance's upside who made strides this offseason being third on the depth chart. https://t.co/6DRhnsVB03
— Ryan, smiling politely (@Craftylefty2126) August 23, 2023
The Vikings/Titans/Bucs/Washington should be beating down their door to get him in the building as the #2 and make him the guy next year https://t.co/wmQ1J6XYUi
— Slim Bálor (@TheCreativeJC) August 23, 2023
Can’t blame the Niners here — Lance just has not been healthy enough to take snaps and grow as a player. Guy has fewer than 200 NFL pass attempts to his name.
This is also why it’s impossible to fairly reassess the Niners decision to trade up for Lance. Just been too hurt. https://t.co/Q70CvsIUwI
— Benjamin Solak (@BenjaminSolak) August 23, 2023
The 49ers are lucky they've drafted pretty well otherwise and found Purdy in the scrap heap because that Trey Lance trade up looks soooooooo badhttps://t.co/JnMe08fDAG
— Dave Rappoccio (@DrawPlayDave) August 23, 2023