For the first time in seven months, 49ers quarterback Trey Lance was spotted throwing a football, but he wasn't throwing the ball to any of his 49ers teammates. Instead, Lance decided to crash a throwing session this week that was put together by Patrick Mahomes.
The Chiefs quarterback invited his receiving group to Texas for a throwing session on TCU's campus. When the reigning NFL MVP invites you to a throwing session, you don't turn him down, which is likely why Chiefs' receivers Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Skyy Moore, Justyn Ross, Jerrion Ealy, and Ihmir Smith-Marsette all decided to show up (Thanks to Chiefs Wire for the full list of receivers).
During the NFL offseason, players aren't allowed to practice together at the team facility, which is why you'll sometimes see a quarterback organize a workout with his receivers away from the team. With that in mind, the fact that Mahomes put all of this together wasn't a total surprise, but it was a surprise to see Lance in attendance.
The 49ers quarterback missed 15 games last season. During his recovery, Lance suffered a setback, which forced him to . Due to those two operations, Lance had been sidelined for nearly seven months, and during that time he was never publicly spotted throwing a football, until Thursday that is.
Here's a look at Lance's first public throw since Sept. 18 when he was on the field for the 49ers in a win over the Seahawks.
That's just one throw, but as noted by David Lombardi of The Athletic, it's very possible that Lance has slightly changed his throwing motion so that he now has a higher release.
At left: Trey Lance August 2022 (my video from camp)— David Lombardi (@LombardiHimself) April 6, 2023
At right: Trey Lance April 2023 (IG: prestonsmithphotography)
Huge difference in at least this one throw. Lance is holding/releasing the ball much higher and the motion is clearly quicker. Both fixes have been necessary pic.twitter.com/PeFhukUPcw
If that's the case, it would make sense, because Lance is going to need to do everything possible to win the 49ers starting job this year. The former No. 3 overall pick did start the season as San Francisco's quarterback in 2022, but after his ankle injury, he was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo, who was then replaced by Brock Purdy following an injury to Garoppolo.
During his time on the field, Purdy went 5-0 as a starter in the regular season while also leading the 49ers to the NFC title game. Due to that showing, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have made it clear that Purdy will get the first crack at the starting job this year.
"I think Brock has earned the right with the way he played that he's probably the leader in the clubhouse," Lynch said on. "If we were to line up, he'd probably take that first snap."
Shanahan also noted that the job would be Purdy's to lose.
"I think it's going to be harder for him to [win the starting QB job]," Shanahan said of Lance at the same meeting, via PFT. "Brock played eight games. Trey had that job going into last season and if he would've played eight games like that, no one else would've been able to come in and beat him out."
Although the 49ers like Purdy, there is a chance that Lance could open the season as the starter since Purdy is still recovering from an UCL injury that he suffered in his elbow against the Eagles in the NFC Championship game. Purdy and the 49ers aren't sure yet if he'll be available when the season starts.
"With Brock being hurt, it does open him up. It does give him a chance," Shanahan said of Lance. "I don't know how Brock's going to come back. I don't know exactly when he's going to come back. So, I don't have an exact answer for that. But right now, because he is hurt, it's nice to focus on Trey, it's nice to focus on [Sam Darnold] and see how they do at OTAs and -- most likely -- see how they're playing leading into training camp because I think it will take some time for Brock."
If Lance is looking to improve this offseason, Mahomes is definitely the quarterback you want to be working out with. The Chiefs QB is coming off his second Super Bowl win and his second MVP in just five full seasons as a starter.