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What to make of the 49ers quarterback situation

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jan 31, 2023 at 12:30 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers are in offseason mode, as they were eliminated by the Philadelphia Eagles to the score of 31-7 in the NFC Championship round, effectively ending their season.

In the loss, the 49ers faced unimaginable circumstances, as starting quarterback Brock Purdy suffered a torn UCL on the first offensive drive of the game, while backup Josh Johnson departed with a concussion and did not return, forcing the former to re-enter, despite the injury.

With the injuries to both quarterbacks, the 49ers ended the season with all four of their active quarterbacks injured, which has unfortunately been a theme for the team over the past few seasons.

As uncertainty looms over the current starter in 2023, let's evaluate all the options and come to an early conclusion on the quarterback situation going into 2023.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has experienced a whirlwind career with the San Francisco 49ers, signing an extension with the team in 2018 after playing just five games, before encountering a number of injuries, but also a Super Bowl and two NFC Championship appearances.

However, it's more than likely that Garoppolo's tenure with the team is over, as the quarterback is headed to unrestricted free agency, and has a full say in his next destination, as his contract provides a clause that the 49ers cannot franchise tag him.

After enjoying a solid season as the starter for several games following the injury to Trey Lance, Garoppolo should have suitors in a quarterback-needy market, where he could acquire a multiyear contract to lead another franchise.

But, one season after the 49ers tried to effortlessly move on from Garoppolo via trade, it appears that a reunion between the two sides is unlikely, specifically due to monetary reasons.

Still, if there is one thing we have learned with the 49ers, it's that any scenario is possible, especially when gauging the injuries at the quarterback position.

The young quarterbacks

The 49ers were in a prime position to carry one of the cheapest quarterback rooms in the NFL with Trey Lance and Brock Purdy heading into 2022.

However, Purdy's torn UCL injury will sideline him for at least six months, with the exact timeline unknown at the moment on when he'll return, effectively ensuring that the rookie quarterback will return only during training camp at the earliest, which means that the 49ers will have just one healthy quarterback under roster when the offseason begins.

Trey Lance, San Francisco's starter in 2022, is still recovering from the two surgeries he encountered this year as a part of his recovery from a broken ankle that he sustained in Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks.

But, according to The Athletic's Matt Barrows, Lance is expected to be fully cleared for the beginning of organized team activities(OTAs), where he currently begins the offseason as the top quarterback on San Francisco's depth chart, in part because he's the only healthy option.

Purdy could be available to start come Week 1 if the six-month timeline is accurate, but it's unclear whether that will be accurate or if he'll be given that opportunity, as Lance will be undergoing the entirety of the offseason program as the top signal-caller with the No. 1 offense, while the rookie recovers from his injury.

Outside options

The 49ers will undoubtedly need another quarterback in the mix for the beginning of the season, as Lance is slated to be the only healthy option on the roster at the time for San Francisco.

The 49ers could go two routes: signing or trading for a potential starter, such as Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, or adding a backup, allowing them to push Lance as he progresses.

The first option is certainly intriguing, given the 49ers' shortcomings in recent years, and that Brady would be the best quarterback that head coach Kyle Shanahan has worked with during his time in the Bay Area.

However, Brady is likely to command a hefty salary, and the 49ers have just $16 million in remaining cap space while having to deal with several key free agents, as well as an extension for defensive end Nick Bosa, making it tough financially for San Francisco to pull off a move of such caliber.

The same goes for Rodgers, who will also require draft capital to be sent out to Green Bay, making it an even tougher sell, given San Francisco's current cap situation.

A better solution? Signing a capable backup, such as Cleveland's Jacoby Brissett, Los Angeles's Baker Mayfield, Miami's Teddy Bridgewater, or New Orleans's Andy Dalton, who would provide a healthy body and experience at the position with such a young group, allowing the 49ers to carry them, Lance, and Purdy when the season begins for the 49ers as the three quarterbacks on the roster.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

1 Comment

  • BigAl
    So now were promoting Grant Cohn on this website? What a clown show thats it for me
    Jan 31, 2023 at 5:12 PM
    Response: Confusing comment considering Grant was not mentioned once in this article.

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