While quarterback Trey Lance is viewed as a major bust, it’s safe to say he hasn’t gotten a fair shake in the NFL, so could his best chance for success be with Sean McVay?
In Bleacher Report’s “Complete NFL Offseason Trade Guide,” the outlet floated LA trading a fifth round pick to acquire Lance as a successor to Matthew Stafford.
“Stafford showed that he can still play at a top level in 2023, and he’ll return for 2024. However, he’ll also turn 36 next month. It’s always good to have a succession plan in place, and Lance would be an intriguing one.
The 23-year-old was replaced by Brock Purdy in San Francisco and hasn’t seen the field in Dallas. He still possesses an intriguing skill set, though, and could be a fun developmental project in McVay’s spacing-based offense.
Acquiring Lance shouldn’t be overly expensive, as Dallas traded a mere fourth-round pick for him last offseason,” per the BR scouting department in their January 29 article
Watching the 49ers advance to yet another Super Bowl has to make fans of the L.A. Rams sick, but even worse is seeing the Niners unfazed by one of the worst draft whiffs in recent memory: Despite starting only 17 games at North Dakota State, San Francisco made Lance the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft after trading two future first rounders to move up. Once it became clear the former first rounder wasn’t going to push out Mr. Irrelevant Brock Purdy, his future within the organization was clear and the former Bison was traded to the Cowboys prior to the 2023 regular season and was the third-string QB behind Dak Prescott.
Lance has only started four games in the NFL as injuries and other factors contributed to a pretty raw deal with the 49ers. I firmly believe he was never the right fit for Kyle Shanahan’s offense. For one, Shanahan used him primarily as a runner in Week 1 of the 2022 season, completely pushing aside Lance’s development as a passer. It’s almost like Kyle forgot about his father’s own mistreatment of a highly-touted dual-threat under center.
#49ers’ QB Trey Lance led all quarterbacks in Week 1 with 9 designed rushing attempts.— Akash Anavarathan (@akashanav) September 13, 2022
Not sure that’s a sustainable formula health-wise — but it’ll be interesting to see the balance given the injury to Mitchell and Lance’s own development as a passer.
In a post I wrote last July, I debated whether Lance and the Rams cross paths sometime down the line. Anything is possible after all and a hypothetical trade is not as crazy as it sounds. Trading for the Cowboys QB3 would be a low-risk move with very high upside. I acknowledged as much in my article:
“Lance is fairly unknown as a player while his ceiling is unlimited. That much is evident about him. He is also, for the time being, part of a winning culture with the Niners yet has never felt like the right fit. The third-year pro has a mere 102 passing attempts in two seasons with an additional 54 carries on the ground. It’s almost like Kyle Shanahan has zero clue how to use him. Either he was too timid to use him in the passing game or ran him like a glorified running back.”
Lance would’ve benefited greatly from playing another season in Fargo before declaring for the draft. Either way, he’ll be just 24 years old heading into the 2024 campaign. Some fans already declaring the third-year player a bust tend to forget what made him so special coming out of college to begin with.
While his sample size should give teams pause, there is untapped potential in Lance and he deserves to find a team that’ll give him one last chance to unlock it. Take for instance how another North Dakota State product performed under McVay’s guidance.
Carson Wentz started in Week 18 against the Niners and performed well in his lone game action of ‘23. Wentz completed 70 percent of his passes for 163 yards and two touchdown passes, finishing with a 99.8 passer rating. He also tacked on 56 rushing yards and another score which decided the one-point win. The veteran QB proved he still has what it takes to be an NFL starter.
Carson Wentz on 3rd & 4th down vs. the 49ers:— PFF LA Rams (@PFF_Rams) January 8, 2024
2 TDs / 0 INTs
147.9 passer rating
McVay has brought out the best in his quarterbacks. Remember, he got a Super Bowl title out of Stafford immediately after suffering through years of losing in Detroit. Baker Mayfield was also written off prior to signing with LA and he’s likely earning a second contract with the Buccaneers.
Lance could possibly be the most physically gifted signal caller McVay has ever had at his disposal. Re-signing Wentz should be a priority this offseason. But assuming the Rams can’t get it done, why not call the Cowboys about Trey Lance?