Santa Clara – Despite the 49ers losing the final preseason game 23-12 against the LA Chargers, the “hot” topic still remained, “Why did Trey Lance get traded to Dallas today?” The first question asked during the postgame press conference was regarding Lance’s trade to the Dallas Cowboys for the fourth round pick. Head coach Kyle Shanahan said this after the game.
Shanahan continued his presser with the following questions:
Is there anything about the Trey Lance experience that you wish you had done differently?
“I will always feel like I let Trey down. I mean, I wanted him to come here. I believe in Trey. I believed in him before we took him and I’m responsible for that. I didn’t want to throw him into the heat of battle right away, but I thought he needed to play. So, we tried to figure out every way to do that. I mean, if I can look back in hindsight, he broke that finger on a helmet on that fourth preseason game versus the Raiders. I wish I hadn’t put him in a play that had him break his finger. Because I think that really hurt him in his first year. Not only did it hurt him not getting able to mix in much, but it hurt him in the practice time because he had to adjust how he threw and things like that which I think set him back for a second year. When we went into the second year, we gave him every chance to do it. We were going to make an offense that, to me, gave him the best chance to be successful at that time. Which we did do. And when you do that, you hope a guy can stay healthy so he can stay out there long enough. But that didn’t last long. It was the first game and after that, I mean I always felt for him, and we continue to work with him. But sometimes things just don’t work out.”
Was there an internal struggle about, I mean he’s still a young guy, he’s 23 years old, he’s only halfway through his rookie contract. Did you consider just keeping him here just to give him a chance to eventually be the guy that you thought you were getting when you drafted him?
“Yeah, we do consider that. I just think that it was hard for us to do that with where we’re at as a team and how much time we have given him. And the situation here where we gave him every chance to beat out Sam. It just didn’t happen. When you look at it in that case, there’s not much opportunities you can do on that practice field. There’s not a developmental league, there’s not a whole field on the side where we can get our players just to practice to give him reps. You got to get the one ready to go and when you’re not, it’s hard enough to get the two ready to go. The three is usually a guy who never gets a rep till he randomly gets out there. That wasn’t what I felt was right for Trey and with how much we had done so far. That wasn’t going to be what was right for our team either. I thought it was time to move on for him and for us. I’m well aware of everything that happened and yeah, unfortunately, it did happen. But I like where our team’s at too right now. I feel very good about that. I also feel very good that despite all that just, you’d love to keep a third guy to develop, especially a guy that you really, really love and believe that he could do it someday. But to do that for $7 million over two years with places where you are in the cap when you can’t provide those reps and stuff for people. You got other things with our team where we’re doing, that to me doesn’t make much sense for the Niners. I wish it would because hell yeah, we’d love to just keep him until eventually it works out. But that clock ran out here and that’s why we had to make a real tough decision, one we didn’t enjoy doing, one we didn’t want to do, but we try to do what we think’s best and this is what we think is best.”
How much of this do you think came down to the fact that where you guys were as a team didn’t align with what Trey needed to get where he was trying to go?
“Very much so. I do think there was a chance, we thought we were aligned as a team to win right away when we did it with him. We knew it would take him time, but we also had to make a decision where we were going to go with our team over a two-year window. We felt if we could get a rookie quarterback or a guy on a rookie deal who could help us win, man, we could put a good team around him. We took a shot with Trey because we believed he could. We knew it would take some time, but in the meantime, we were going to have a pretty good team. The time that we did give him when he had his ops, he missed those and those weren’t his fault. I don’t, they weren’t our fault. That’s what happens in football. And when you take a risk on someone who does need to develop and does need some of that time and then he misses that time and we are where we’re at right now, it is kind of what it is. I think we are very fortunate that we did find a guy. We still have a rookie quarterback or a guy in a rookie deal that has helped us put together a good team. We do have a guy that we believe we can win with on that deal and we also feel we have a very strong backup. That’s where we’re at.”
Is K Robbie Gold a possibility?
“I’m sure everyone’s a possibility, but that’s stuff we haven’t discussed yet.”
General Manager John Lynch aslo spoke about the Lance trade:
Can you go over the timeline of how it might have accelerated today when more teams got in?
“Yeah. I guess that was Wednesday when [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] informed [QB] Trey [Lance] of the decision with [QB] Sam [Darnold] being the number two. I think that led to just some organic conversations between them. And Kyle came up to my office and just said, ‘Hey, as we started talking, Trey’s, like he always is, he’s all in.’ But he did suggest and ask, ‘Hey, if we could find the right opportunity that he would appreciate that.’ He also said he’d be here and continue to compete. And I had a chance then to talk to Trey, talk to Trey’s agent, and I gave him my word that I’d look and see what’s out there. So, we started that process and it culminated today with Dallas happening. And it felt like a long time, but it was really a short period of time, a couple days where we’re talking to teams and teams are reaching out to us and the end result was what we ended up with.”
Did you guys give them permission to seek a trade? Is that what happened?
“We kind of worked on it together and I told Patrick Collins, his rep, I told Patrick feel free to go out and find teams if you want. So, we kind of kept in communication during the process. And I want to let you guys know, Trey was tremendous during this whole thing. He handled it as well as you could and just asked if there a good landing spot I’d be appreciative of that, but if I’m here, I’m here.”
You guys traded up to get him, you gave him all those picks. Why give up on a guy who’s only 23 years old and only halfway through that contract?
“It’s a fair question and it’s something we talked a lot about internally. Ultimately, with Brock being healthy, number one, and we’re excited about that, Sam being the number two, the reality it’s not the way everybody works it, but with our system, the number one takes a lot of reps, the number two takes the scout team reps. It’s just not a whole lot of opportunity. I heard Kyle talk about it, to get better, and that’s what he needs to do. He needs to play to get better. And I think that’s going to be his opportunity. Play, I mean, ideally games, but play is running scout team, play is doing all those things. We weren’t going to have that. And so how do you allow a player to grow? And so, back to what we put into him, we take, believe me, we take full accountability. We own that. As I said on TV today, I think his story is very much unwritten. I’ve got a lot of belief in the kid and think with his talent, with his work ethic he’s going to forge a nice career in this thing. And so, love the kid. Kyle and I, when we broke the news to him today saw him light up a little bit and he loves it here. He was very appreciative of the opportunity. Like Trey, typical Trey, he apologized to us and there was nothing for him to apologize for. And we’re happy that he’s got a spot. The Cowboys came up big and I think that’s an indication that they’re excited to have him and we’re excited for Trey’s new opportunity. And we’ll always be big fans.”
It’s not an optimal time to have to trade someone. Are you pleasantly surprised that you got a fourth-round pick under these conditions?
“It’s not what it looked like when we first started having conversation. It wasn’t anywhere close. So, it did advance in a hurry today. I’m not doing cartwheels over it because my preference would’ve been that it worked out and it didn’t. And there’s circumstances for that, and we can explain them away, but the reality is the reality. He had a couple opportunities. I think injuries played a part and where we’re at as a team, we felt like this was the best situation for us. Also, the best situation for him.”
Trey fell behind QB Brock Purdy, which is understandable, but I think a lot of people don’t understand how Trey fell behind QB Sam Darnold. We were there, we watched every snap and I don’t think it was clear to us that Sam was clearly better. What happened?
“I think it was a tight battle and I think Kyle would say the same thing. But ultimately, coaches are paid to make those decisions and they felt collectively that Sam had separated himself and that wasn’t for lack of Trey competing his tail off. He improved greatly. So, I think we were real proud of the effort he made. Sam has had a really good camp and you see Sam’s arm talent, his abilities. I think the same reasons why we were interested in bringing him here have kind of come to fruition. Now, it’s going to happen, but ultimately we felt that was the best decision. And then, I explained from there.”
Usually when teams make a trade like that for a quarterback, it doesn’t work out well for them but that hasn’t been the case for you guys because of Brock Purdy. Do you consider that you got really lucky?
“I try not to look at things like that. This thing’s not an exact science, but when you put that much into a player, it usually is really tough to rebound from. Fortunately, we’ve been able to continue to grow this team, to make this team better. And we were very fortunate for Brock to become what he’s become. Now he’s got to continue to do it. But, the early returns are good and, everything from his rookie year to the somewhat, I won’t say miraculous, but he made a hell of a return and with some hurdles in there, starting surgery late and all that. For him to be where he is at and we had to open our eyes and say, okay, he’s cleared, but is he ready? And he kept showing us that he was, and then the other things transpired that led us to where we’re at.”
It’s a cap sport. How much did the salary cap ramifications of, the average quarterback makes a million, third-string quarterback is making nine his cap figure, how much did that cap figure and the cap implications play a factor?
“I think in future years, Trey’s on the minimum this year, in future years, next year, it kicks up quite a bit. And that kind of coincides with when our stuff’s going to get tight. So, of course, that plays a factor. As Kyle said, we would’ve loved to have kept all four of those guys in the building. And Trey is the, I think everyone should know, he’s a tremendous teammate. He’s a tremendous human being. And so, never was it like we were worried we’re going to have a malcontent, Trey told us that, ‘hey, if I’m here, I’m here and I’m rolling, but if you could, find a spot for me,’ and so there was some level of that and finding a nice landing spot for him. And I think we did that.”
Going back to the process that led you to Trey when you drafted him. And maybe this is hindsight, but how much do you think you underestimated the gap between where you were as a team and what you needed from the quarterback versus how much he needed to develop and the timing of that?
“You know, he hadn’t played a ton of football, so we knew we were taking somewhat of a chance. But you know, I believe to this day, if we hadn’t taken him, someone would’ve right behind us. I think the next pick. And so, I don’t think we were the only ones seeing it. He’s a very talented young man. He’s got a lot of qualities in his makeup that lead towards, and like, believe me, I still think that story’s unwritten, so it didn’t work for us. But I think, one of the things we’ve been talking about and thinking about, I mean, there’s all kinds of stories from, you know [former NFL QB] Steve Young who sat for a while, [former NFL QB] Warren Moon up in Canada to [former NFL QB] Kurt Warner working in a grocery store. I still very much have belief that he’s going to become a player. Now it’s just not going be for us, and we take full accountability for that and in some ways, yeah, we got lucky on Brock, but sure that set back our team, it would’ve been nice to have those picks and all that, so we do own that. And fortunately, we still have a really good football team that I think has a legitimate shot. We’re focused on game one, but we have a championship-level roster. Now it’s what we make of it.”
You still have optimism that DE Nick Bosa will be signed by Week 1?
“Yeah, I do. We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ll continue to do that. He’s a great player. We want him here. We need him here.”
“Yes. Obviously I love Trey, everything that he’s done for this organization and obviously for myself,” said Purdy. “I know I’ve told you guys a bunch of times before, but going in last year and then him just being by my side from the get go sideline, meetings in the locker room, wherever we are at, man, he’s been a real one and helped me come into the league and welcome me with open arms and showed me the ropes to this whole thing. So can’t tell you how grateful I am for him and to have him in my life and to be here with him. So forever grateful for Trey. Obviously in terms of the situation, like happy for him that he’s able to go into a good situation and we all feel like it’s a good fit. But at the end of the day, I can’t say how thankful I am to have played and been a teammate with Trey.
Yes. I saw him out by the lot or the weight room before the game and stuff, he was out there talking to some guys and I was able to go over and just tell him that I love him and like I said, how appreciative of that I am of him. Everything that he’s done for obviously myself and the team. So told him that I’m really happy for him and excited to see what he does with his opportunity and his career in the NFL. So, excited for him.”
“That’s the toughest part of it, is the human element of it,” said Kyle Juszcyk. “11 years in the league now, from the football side of things, I know how quickly things move and this kind of stuff happens a lot. Teams move on from guys, but it’s the human part that’s the hardest because we all love Trey so much. He’s such a good person and great locker room guy that we’re definitely going to miss him.”
It’s always a tough thing when stuff like this happens,” Brandon Allen said on Lance being traded. “I think for him in the long run it will be a good thing. I think he’s going to be a great player in this league for a long time. I’ve already enjoyed the time I had with him here. I know he’s probably going to do good things for Dallas. I just know the kind of guy and the kind of teammate he is. That’s always tough to lose.”
The second half was dominated by LA, they scored twice in the third period and kicked a field goal in the fourth. Late in the third, San Francisco’s third-string quarterback Brandon Allen’s short pass for Tay Martin was intercepted by Daiyan Henley, and tipped by Cam Brown. That led to Cameron Dicker’s 35-yard field goal to make it a 20-12 game.
Earlier in the same period Max Duggan threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Kampmoyer to give the Chargers a 17-12 lead. The 49ers backup Sam Darnold’s pass to Willie Snead in the third for a 6-yard touchdown put San Francisco up 12-10. But Dicker kicked a 24 yard field goal to increase LA’s lead 10-6 to end the half.
The first period was action packed, Brock Purdy led his offense down the field on the first series to set-up Jordan Mason’s touchdown but he fumbled the ball on the goal line. Carlo Kemp forced the turnover and Dean Leonard recovered the ball. On the next series Purdy scrambled into the end zone for a 5-yard touchdown. Kicker Mitch Wishnowsky missed the filed goal.
The Chargers responded on the next series when Joshua Kelley rushed up the middle for a 75-yard touchdown to make it a 7-6 game. LA scored in two plays, for 81 yards in 40 seconds.
Breaking news: 49ers traded Trey Lance to the Dallas Cowboys
Santa Clara – The tumultuous start of the season for Trey Lance is over, he was traded to the Dallas Cowboys hours before the 49ers host the Los Angeles Chargers. San Francisco obviously didn’t see the need to continue the downfall of Lance’s career. After he was demoted to third string quarterback, there really was no hope for the former starting QB.
A few days ago the 49ers named Sam Darnold as the back-up quarterback to Brock Purdy. It’s unfortunate that Lance’s career was plagued by injuries. Lance played in eight games for San Francisco with four starts and completed 56-of-102 for 797 yards in his two seasons. The young QB will get a fresh start in Dallas behind Dax Prescott. There are reports out of Dallas that Prescott is excited for the start of the season, despite not playing a single game this preseason.
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