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Trey Lance’s cryptic Instagram post after the Titans hired Ran Carthon

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Do you see Lance wrestling to get out of San Francisco?

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The 49ers’ second-year quarterback, whose first season as a starter was then cut short He has a horrible ankle injury in the second weekposted an intriguing comment to his Instagram story on Wednesday after the Titans hired a former director of personnel for San Francisco quarterback Ran Karthon to be their new general manager.

Lance, 22, posted a photo of Karthon with three “crossed fingers” emoji right after Tennessee hired him. It could have been the quarterback sending best wishes to a guy who may have had a say in his status on the 49ers, but there’s plenty of room to speculate that it could mean something more given Lance’s current status with the team.

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Tri Lance
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The 49ers traded three first-round draft picks Nine spots advanced in the 2021 NFL Draft Lance is located outside of North Dakota. Lance only had a year as a starter in college and played for North Dakota State against mediocre competition, but the 49ers clearly believed in his qualities enough to take a big swing.

So far, though, the NFL’s results have been somewhat worrying. He wasn’t able to get on the field as much as a rookie, as Jimmy Garoppolo filled in the starting job all season (and led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game). Lance started the 2022 season as a starter, but after a mediocre performance against the Bears in a rainy Week 1, He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 against the Seahawks.

Since then, another 49ers quarterback seems to have taken his job. Rookie Brock Purdy — selected with the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft — has been stellar since taking charge of Garoppolo, going 6-0 as a starter (including the 49ers’ 41-23 wild-card victory over the Seahawks on Saturday). In his senior season, Purdy completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns and four interceptions.

Trey Lance and Brock Purdy before the playoff game against Seattle
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Trey Lance and Brock Purdy before the playoff game against Seattle
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Brooke Purdy
Brooke Purdy
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No matter how Purdy and the 49ers perform for the rest of the playoffs, the team will face intense pressure to replace him. So where does that leave Lance? The team has invested heavily in the quarterback, but if they don’t plan to start playing him, they may look to trade him and recoup some of the investment they lost.

Titans would be a natural fit. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill doesn’t have any guaranteed money left on his contract, and the team may look to move him in the off-season as they navigate a precarious salary situation. Even if they bring back Tannehill, the veteran is entering his 35-year-old season and it won’t be a long-term solution.

Tennessee drafted Malik Willis out of Liberty in the third round of the 2022 NFL Draft, but with Tannehill injured, Willis struggled in Week 16. The team went with Josh Dobbs at quarterback to finish the regular season, including a do-or-die Week 18 loss against Jaguar.

Carthon is obviously familiar with Lance from San Francisco, and if Tennessee is looking to trade for him, they’ll get a big discount from draft day, because he’s coming off a serious injury and hasn’t produced (or had a chance to) yet in the NFL . Lance is a risky prospect at this point, but his arm strength, athleticism and drive could make him attractive as a low buy.

Either way, it’s guaranteed to be another speculation for the San Francisco quarterback.

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