The San Francisco 49ers will reportedly name Sam Darnold as the second string quarterback behind Brock Purdy for the start of the 2023 NFL season, dropping former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance to third string, sources with knowledge of the situation told NFL Network's Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport on Wednesday (August 23).
"The #49ers are naming Sam Darnold their No. 2 quarterback and the team is exploring options with Trey Lance, sources tell me and @RapSheet. Darnold will back up Brock Purdy, while the future of Lance — the No. 3 overall pick in 2021 — is unclear," Pelissero wrote on his X account. "Trey Lance has had a good camp and preseason, showing growth in his game. But Brock Purdy and Sam Darnold are atop the depth chat for a #49ers team that should be a contender, and trading Lance is one possible solution."
Lance threw for 173 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 12 of 18 passing in Saturday's 21-20 preseason win against the Baltimore Ravens. Darnold, also a former No. 3 overall pick by the New York Jets in 2018, threw for 109 yards, one touchdown and one interception on 11 of 14 passing.
Purdy made his preseason debut in Saturday's win, throwing for 65 yards on 4 of 5 passing and recording eight rushing yards on one attempt. The former 'Mr. Irrelevant' pick took over as the Niners' starter as a rookie, leading San Francisco to a 5-0 record in its final five regular season games amid injuries to Lance and former starter Jimmy Garoppolo -- who has since signed with the Las Vegas Raiders -- before suffering an elbow injury during the NFC Championship Game in January.