The 49ers’ quarterback situation likely will be the focus for another offseason.
San Francisco made the decision last season to start Trey Lance over Jimmy Garoppolo. That run was short lived after the No. 3 pick of the 2021 NFL Draft suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the second game of the season. Garoppolo returned as the team’s starting QB until he suffered a broken foot in Week 13.
Brock Purdy then led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game, but he injured his elbow during Sunday’s contest that saw the Philadelphia Eagles win and punch their ticket to the Super Bowl.
The last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft suffered a torn UCL that will sideline him for six months, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Purdy reportedly is seeking a second opinion, but the team is recommending surgery.
The 23-year-old could return sometime in June and July, but last season’s saga with Garoppolo’s shoulder surgery saw him miss significant time in the offseason, and that same fate could befall Purdy heading into his second year.
This opens up the opportunity for Lance, who has been rehabbing and likely is to return in time for OTAs, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. The sample size on the 22-year-old is nearly non-existent, and there really is not a consensus on if the North Dakota State product truly is a good quarterback or not.
San Francisco traded three first-round picks and a third-round pick to the Miami Dolphins to move up from No. 12 to No. 3 to draft Lance. So the team might not want to move on so quickly.
But with other QB-needy teams in the market, the 49ers could trade Lance and possibly insert themselves in the Tom Brady market. The organization has the allure of being the 45-year-old’s hometown team, and San Francisco has been seen as the most quarterback-friendly system in the league with Kyle Shanahan leading the charge.
This will depend on if Brady wants to play another season or call it quits and move to the FOX Sports booth. Jimmy Garoppolo will be a free agent, and his past injury history could help San Francisco in its attempts to re-sign the veteran if there is a desire to see him return.
Purdy’s decision to have surgery or not could have huge ramifications on who will be the 49ers’ starting quarterback in the 2023 season.