San Francisco 49ers legend and Pro Football Hall of Famer Steve Young touched upon what may be ailing third-year quarterback Trey Lance this summer.
“I think what’s happened is he’s now squeezed, where every throw is a referendum on whether he’s any good or not because he doesn’t have a lot of college or even pro money in the bank,” Young said about Lance during an appearance on San Francisco sports radio station KNBR, per David Bonilla of 49ers WebZone. “Not literal money, but just the ability to kind of go out and play and show people what [he] can do. And so there’s all this expectation and aspiration and fear and anxiety…”
Lance produced an outing to forget in this past Sunday’s 34-7 preseason loss at the Las Vegas Raiders, and it’s now believed free-agency signing Sam Darnold is on track to serve as San Francisco’s primary backup behind starter Brock Purdy when the 49ers begin the regular season at the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sept. 10.
While head coach Kyle Shanahan praised Lance on Wednesday for how the young quarterback is handling criticism lobbed his way, there’s no denying the 23-year-old’s future with the organization is up in the air.
“And all of a sudden, you’re not free, you’re not relaxed, you’re pressing, and you’re pressing every throw, and all of a sudden, you’re late for a throw, and then you’ll get sacked, and you go down,” Young added about Lance during the interview. “You’re like, ‘Holy crap, how many bad things can happen?’ So you get into a bad spot.”
Including this past January’s NFC Championship Game, the 49ers lost three different starting quarterbacks to significant injury setbacks during contests last season. That’s a major reason individuals such as 49ers insider Tim Kawakami of The Athletic think the club will carry three signal-callers on the Week 1 roster next month.
With that said, Lance probably will be San Francisco’s third-choice option at the position, and it’s likely Shanahan is hoping the 2021 first-round draft pick plays well enough in this Saturday’s exhibition game against the Denver Broncos to cause a would-be buyer to at least consider taking a flier on the project for the future.