Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

NFL execs, agent ponder 49ers QB situation

Jan 30, 2023 at 2:47 PM--

Do the San Francisco 49ers need to do something drastic to get over the playoff hump that has plagued them for years? They reached the Super Bowl during the 2019 season but couldn't slam the door on the Kansas City Chiefs. They've come one win short of returning to the Super Bowl in each of the past two seasons, including Sunday's NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field.

What's next for the 49ers' quarterback situation? One day into their offseason, the speculation seems to be running wild, especially after news broke that Brock Purdy, injured against the Eagles, suffered a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his throwing arm and will require surgery. He is expected to miss up to six months, which means missing the entire offseason program but potentially returning for training camp.

Before news of the injury, many felt the QB1 job was Purdy's to lose. Most expected to watch a quarterback battle against the former No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance, who entered the 2022 season as the starter.

Purdy needed the upcoming offseason. How will his injury and recovery time impact any quarterback decision? Might the team opt to pursue Tom Brady now?

Before Purdy's MRI results became known, one NFL agent believed a Purdy vs. Lance offseason battle is inevitable, and the starter will emerge from that outcome, not from signing a high-priced veteran.

"They'll let Jimmy G walk, have Purdy compete with Lance, and the job will be Purdy's to lose," the agent predicted, speaking with Mike Sando of The Athletic. "They'll be open to a Lance trade, knowing that is a long shot. Purdy is so much cheaper than Jimmy, they can add players around Purdy now and maybe still develop Lance."

Others, weren't so sure about Lance's future, believing head coach Kyle Shanahan and company, satisfied with what they saw from Purdy in his abbreviated rookie season, might look to trade the former first-round pick and add Brady.

"I think they will trade Trey Lance to Tennessee and then they will end up with Brady and Brady will play one year for his home team, and they will have Brock Purdy as the backup," an NFL executive told Sando. "That is the chatter. They have the defense already, Brady wants to win one more, and this is right up the 49ers' alley."

Obviously, Purdy's diagnosis changes things. Lance, recovering from his second ankle surgery, is expected to return in time for OTAs. Right now, he would be the only healthy quarterback, assuming no setbacks. Jimmy Garoppolo, recovering from a broken foot, is slated to hit free agency.

Another NFL executive didn't think the 49ers would trade Lance before the updated Purdy news, but not necessarily because the team hoped to hold onto the 22-year-old quarterback.

"I don't think Lance has enough value right now to trade him," the executive explained.

Now, it seems almost certain that the Niners hold onto the former first-round pick.


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