SANTA CLARA — As beloved as Trey Lance was in two seasons with the 49ers, Friday’s trade did not exactly catch players off-guard, not after Brock Purdy seized the starting job with last season’s brilliance and not after Sam Darnold was announced Wednesday as the No. 2 quarterback ahead of Lance.
A day later, the 49ers formally announced Lance’s trade to the Dallas Cowboys for a fourth-round pick, pending a physical.
Coach Kyle Shanahan, after Friday’s preseason finale, described what he saw in the players’ sanctuary known as the locker room, where he talked to players before kickoff and alerted them postgame of awaiting questions from the media.
“It was fine,” Shanahan said Saturday on a media conference call. “Guys saw (the news) earlier in the day. I’m in the locker room way before (kickoff) and a bunch of players are, so I got to talk to a bunch of guys. Trey came over here, John (Lynch) and I gave him the news personally. He saw Deebo (Samuel) in the parking lot right when he went out, and maybe (Brandon) Aiyuk, so they all got to touch base with him.”
Neither Samuel nor Aiyuk commented as they left the locker room after Friday’s 21-13 preseason loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. Earlier, Shanahan told players to expect quarterback questions from the incoming reporters — two days after Fred Warner and Javon Hargrave were blindsided by such questions while Lance’s status was up in the air.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal when I spoke to them after the game,” Shanahan said. “I just wanted to give them a heads up on how big a deal it is for you guys and outside of that locker room. When they come in, their mind is on the game.”
Fullback Kyle Juszczyk’s reaction: “Teams move on from guys, but it’s the human part that’s the hardest, because we all love Trey so much. He’s such a good person and great locker room guy that we’re definitely going to miss him. But I am happy to have a team that seems like they wanted him.”
49ers rookie quarterback Trey Lance carries teammates’ helmets and shoulder pads to the locker room after Wednesday’s training camp practice. (Cam Inman/Bay Area News Group)
That sentiment was shared throughout the locker room, even if it was the NFC-rival Cowboys who came calling for Lance.
“Fresh start going to Dallas. He’ll enjoy it,” tight end George Kittle said. “They’ll take good care of him down there — learn from a veteran quarterback. It’s gonna be good for him. And we’re all very happy for him”
Any weirdness in the fact that it’s Dallas?
“No,” Kittle said, before joking: “We could go like beat him up right now. But, no I wouldn’t do that. I like him too much.”
Warner said it was “strange, for sure” to hear about Lance, then added: “Obviously I’m sad to see him leave, because he was a great teammate, great guy. The locker room loved him. But I’m happy for him in terms of getting a fresh start somewhere.”
Lance did not leave disgruntled.
“He said he is obviously going to be pulling for us and watching every step of the way,” Purdy said of his chat with Lance by the weight room earlier Friday. “But it was more like us being appreciative of everything that he’s done for us.”
BOSA CONTRACT STATUS
Trading away Lance frees up $940,000 in cap space this year and $5.3 million next year, but those savings are not expected to expedite a new contract for Nick Bosa, who’s yet to report while his agent negotiates with 49ers’ officials on likely the largest contract for a non-quarterback.
“I would doubt that affects it much,” Shanahan said. “It’s not just this year but a two-year span. It’s not always just cap, but it’s also cash (such as a signing bonus). Eventually cap and cash equal out over a three-year hand. I don’t see it having much of a factor in their negotiations.”
Lynch, the 49ers’ general manager, said Friday night he expects Bosa to be signed in the next week, adding: “We’ve got a lot of work to do and we’ll continue to do that. He’s a great player. We want him here. We need him here.”
The 49ers will work out free-agent kickers and Shanahan is unaware if that includes Robbie Gould, their kicker the previous six seasons. Rookie Jake Moody strained his right quadriceps in practice Tuesday, and the 49ers will be closely evaluating his rehabilitation for a potential debut in the Sept. 10 season opener at Pittsburgh. Zane Gonzalez injured a calf in Friday’s warmup and will be out weeks, so he’s likely heading for injured reserve.
“I’ve never been in this situation before,” Shanahan said, “where we have two really good kickers in our camp and a few day before the final 53, both aren’t available at this time. The next couple days are real important to see how the rehab is going and test where it’s going to be two weeks from now when we kickoff. We’re discussing everything and being ready to maneuver this roster.”
ROOKIE TIGHT END HURT
Tight end Cam Latu, a third-round pick who’s rallied in the past week after a rocky camp, is facing knee surgery for a torn meniscus.
That means the 49ers must weigh whether to put him on season-ending Injured Reserve before Tuesday’s cuts, or carry him onto the 53-man roster and then move him to short-term IR.
Behind Kittle, the 49ers figure to keep three tight ends, the candidates are Ross Dwelley, Charlie Woerner, Troy Fumagalli and rookie Brayden Willis.
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INJURIES AT SAFETY
All-Pro safety Talanoa Hufanga has a cyst (fluid) behind his knee, and although that caused him to miss practice this week, Shanahan downplayed the issue.
Although Hufanga and Tashaun Gipson Sr. return as the starting tandem, and while rookie Ji’Ayir Brown is a roster lock, the depth at safety took a hit Friday night when Tayler Hawkins sustained a fractured hand that will require surgery. Hawkins was on the roster bubble. Veteran George Odum has missed most of the past couple of weeks with a shoulder injury.
OTHER HEALTH UPDATES
The 49ers’ running back didn’t emerge unscathed from the preseason, although starter Christian McCaffrey was safely stashed from playing any games. Jordan Mason sustained a foot sprain Friday and is day-to-day. Elijah Mitchell’s groin tightened up after Monday’s return to practice and the 49ers did not want to push him further in the preseason.
Wide receiver Chris Conley (shoulder sprain) is day to-day, and cornerback A.J. Parker (hamstring) could require weeks of recovery.