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ESPN Insider: Bucs Should Eye Trey Lance Trade with 49ers If Tom Brady Leaves TB

Adam WellsJanuary 17, 2023

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 18: Trey Lance #5 of the San Francisco 49ers warms up before the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers facing a potential quarterback conundrum if Tom Brady doesn't return next season, at least one analyst thinks they should make a run at Trey Lance.

ESPN's Dan Graziano suggested the Bucs should call the San Francisco 49ers to gauge their willingness to trade Lance given how much success they have had with Brock Purdy.

"Get him healthy, pair him with the right offensive coordinator and reap the benefits of the development work the Niners did with him," Graziano wrote.

Brady didn't offer much insight about his future following Monday's 31-14 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC Wild Card Game.

"I'm gonna go home and get a good night's sleep—as good as I can tonight," Brady said when asked about his plans. "This has been all I've focused on—this game. It'll just be one day at a time. Truly."

Even if Brady decides to return in 2023, he can become a free agent and may explore other options after a difficult season with the Bucs.

San Francisco is going to have quarterback questions of its own this offseason. Lance has been pegged as the future at the position for head coach Kyle Shanahan since the team traded up to select him with the third overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft.

After sitting behind Jimmy Garoppolo as a rookie, Lance was supposed to have the keys to the offense in 2022. His season came to an end in Week 2 due to a fractured ankle.

Garoppolo, who surprisingly returned to the 49ers this past offseason, took over as the starter after Lance's injury. However, the 31-year-old suffered a broken foot in a Week 13 win over the Miami Dolphins.

Purdy made San Francisco's roster as the No. 3 quarterback after beating out Nate Sudfeld in training camp. The final pick in the 2022 NFL draft has played surprisingly well with 1,430 passing yards, 14 touchdown passes and a 66.9 completion percentage in six starts, including the playoffs.

Shanahan was asked late in the season about the 2023 starter, but he declined to provide an answer with the 49ers in pursuit of a Super Bowl.

"So it's a great question, but, honestly, I don't look ahead like that. We've got a number of big games in front of us," he told reporters on Dec. 27.

The 49ers have also been linked to Brady if they don't want to go all-in on Purdy and have questions about Lance's long-term viability.

If nothing else, the Buccaneers could at least call San Francisco to gauge interest in a Lance trade. He's only 22 years old and still possesses the type of upside that made him a top-three draft pick back in 2021.