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Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ QB1? John Lynch calls Brock Purdy the “leader in the clubhouse”

Mar 27, 2023 at 8:51 AM--

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch, speaking with reporters at the owners' meetings in Arizona on Monday morning, made it clear where Brock Purdy sits in the team's quarterback depth chart. Purdy, recovering from surgery on March 10, has earned the right to the top spot.

"I think Brock has earned the right with the way he played that he's probably the leader in the clubhouse at that," Lynch said. "I'll let [head coach] Kyle [Shanahan] make those kind of decisions, but I know, when we talk, I think Brock's probably earned that right to be the guy. If we were to line up, he'd probably take that first snap."

Of course, Lynch clarified that all quarterbacks—Purdy, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold—will compete for the 49ers' starting job. However, Purdy showed he had earned the right based on his rookie performance.

"We're really excited about where Trey is at with his progress from his injury," Lynch added. "He's been working really hard. Love the opportunity to be able to bring in Sam Darnold and his skill set. We think it's a really good fit. So we like that [quarterback] room a lot."

Lynch noted that he believes Purdy could still return to practice sometime during training camp. Purdy is expected to begin throwing sometime in June, ramping up his workload and being fully cleared sometime in September. However, the 49ers general manager is more hopeful. The team will better understand Purdy's recovery timeline once the quarterback begins throwing in June.

"But our hope is he's ready to go in training camp," Lynch said. "We'll see how everything goes. We're going to do what's right for Brock because that's right for our organization. You know, be aggressive with what we do but also be really smart."

Lynch and the 49ers also plan to be smart with Purdy's recovery. If he's not ready for the start of the season, the team believes it has the players to "hold down the fort" until he is.

Training camp begins at the end of July and runs through August.

"Brock is going to work," Lynch said. "He's going to do everything they ask and more, and they were very pleased with the way the surgery went, so we're excited about that."

What does Lynch and the 49ers think about Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, if Purdy has seemingly jumped him on the depth chart?

"We're still very excited about Trey," Lynch responded, "but I think the way Brock played, he probably has earned that right to be the guy. But it's certainly a competition; we will always have that. And again, these are decisions Kyle makes. But I know in our discussions, this is the way we're talking."

Would the 49ers consider trading Lance?

"We like Trey on our team right now," Lynch responded. "We always joke, Kyle and I, we'd trade each other if someone gave us a good enough deal, so we listen to anything. But we like Trey on our team, and we're very excited about the way he's progressing, about his opportunity. I think he's champing at the bit to get out there, and get back under center, and be healthy again."

Purdy suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow during the 49ers' 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Championship Game. He entered the game against the Miami Dolphins on December 4, replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, and started the remainder of the season.

Purdy finished his rookie regular season completing 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,374 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. He added 569 passing yards with three touchdowns in the playoffs but only managed four passing attempts in the NFC Championship Game.

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