49ers quarterback situation facing critical stretch


January 1, 2023; Paradise, Nevada, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) throws against the Las Vegas Raiders during the first half at Allegiant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch met with the media on Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. During the session Lynch provided updates on the status of Brock Purdy and Trey Lance along with filling out the rest of the quarterback room.

Purdy was scheduled to undergo surgery to repair the torn UCL in his right arm last Wednesday. The procedure was postponed due to swelling. Lynch provided an updated timeline for Purdy.

“Brock is down in Arizona. His folks are from there in Gilbert, Arizona,” said Lynch. “Dr. Meister is the orthopedist for the Texas Rangers. He’ll be traveling to spring training later this week and so they’re going to meet there and hopefully everything’s good, and he’s made the progress necessary.

We want the best outcome. And that’s where Dr. Meister made a really tough decision and we’re very appreciative. And he’s done thousands of these surgeries and when you have all the swelling out, when you have all the stiffness out, is when he’s had the best success with the outcomes. And so, we’re very thankful and we’re hopeful that when they meet down in Arizona this week they can move forward and then it would be early next week as to when they would go in there and have the surgery.”

While the 49ers wait on Purdy, the news on Trey Lance was positive. The former first round pick returned to throwing last week and all signs point to him being ready to go when the 49ers hit the field for offseason workouts.

“He’s doing really well. I feel like I tell you guys this all the time, but when I’m on my office, I got a nice view. I’m on the second floor, I got a nice view of the field,” said Lynch. “I get reports obviously, but my eyes tell me a lot and I’m watching Trey out there taking drops each day. I don’t see a limp. It’s not to say he’s a 100%, but he’s really recovering well and doing a really nice job and so, he did start the throwing here recently. Trey’s rehabbing extremely well. He did have that secondary procedure. It wasn’t really a setback. One of the plates was kind of giving some interference with some of the tendons, stuff above my head, but they took care of it, and he seems to be doing really well and we’re happy for him.”

Lance enters year three as still a bit of an unknown as Injuries have limited him to just four starts. When asked where Lance can show the most improvement, Lynch pointed to availability.

“I think his biggest thing, we just have to find a way and I’ve had a lot of conversations with Trey, early in my career, I struggled to stay healthy and then I hit an eight-year stretch where I didn’t miss the snap, so sometimes you just have to go through that, the rough patches and he has to play,” Lynch responded. “And that’s the biggest challenge, we have a team that’s ready to go now. He has to get out there and play. Brock got that opportunity this year. He grabbed it, he did great things, we’ll see at some point how we get Trey that opportunity because we very much believe in who he is as a person and who he is as a quarterback.”

San Francisco will need to add depth at quarterback. The 49ers like to have at least three quarterbacks on the roster during the offseason and training camp. Lynch mentioned this yesterday as well.

“Yeah, well, ironically, we made that decision last year and I felt really good going into training camp that we were kind of insulated in the event that anything happened. And unfortunately, it wasn’t quite enough. It got us right at the end and so I think we’re all product of our experiences,” said Lynch.

“So, we’ll see and yeah we may have to look into the quarterback market in addition to Brock and [QB] Trey [Lance] to insulate ourselves from whatever may happen.”

All of this once again leaves the quarterback position as a large question mark for San Francisco.

With free agency opening a week from Monday, the 49ers need to gain clarity around the status of Purdy. If Dr. Meister can complete the surgery with the internal brace method, Purdy’s timeline to return has been estimated at six months. This means he will be fully cleared to return right around week one. If surgery does not go as planned the 49ers could be without Purdy deep into the season or not have him back at all.

Purdy’s status will have an impact on the type of free agent quarterback the 49ers are able to attract.

The free agent options this year include several with starting experience. Among them are Jacoby Brissett, Teddy Bridgewater, Marcus Mariota, along with several others easily recognizable to fans.

Here’s the catch. If Purdy’s timeline for return is week one or two of the regular season, it is hard to imagine any of the experienced options choosing to be third on the depth chart. There are too many teams needing an answer at the position.  In that case names such as John Wolford, Nate Sudfeld and Nick Mullens enter the picture. 

For San Francisco, the next week and a half will provide clarity around how to proceed with their offseason plans at quarterback.

This article has 39 Comments

  1. OldCoach says: March 1, 2023 at 12:54 pm
    I think if you are going to be a top 4 team in the NFL the K position become that much more important. A missed FG can be the difference between winning the NFCCG or losing the NFCCG. The same holds for the SB. Where as a missed FG for other teams is the difference between going 5-12 or 4-13. My concern with Gould is his inability to KO into the end zone. I would like to see them draft a strong leg in the 7th round and keep him on the active roster to KO and be mentored by RG.
    * I agree with you OC, that’s why I’d draft Missouri K Harrison Mevis in the 7th Rd. At 5’11” and 236 pounds, Harrison Mevis is an absolute weapon of a kicker prospect in the 2023 NFL Draft. The junior kicker has NEVER missed an extra point attempt at the collegiate level. Additionally, his six field goals made from over 50 yards have already tied a program record ahead of his third season for the program. Having proven to be strong-legged, Mevis showcased improvement in his field goal accuracy last fall. He made 85% of his field goals in 2020, improving to 92% in 2021. He’s comfortably one of the top kickers in the nation.

  2. Jack
    * It is good news to hear Lance is progress well, that he’s returned to throwing last week and all signs point to him being ready to go when the 49ers hit the field for offseason workouts.
    Also, Lets hope Dr Dr. Meister is correct, BP gets the surgery done and is cleared to return right around week one.
    * But as the old adage goes. “hope for the best, but plan for the worst!”
    * With that worst case scenario in mind, I can’t see signing John Wolford, Nate Sudfeld or Nick Mullens. IMHO, that
    would result in another 2 or 3 Win, 4 or 5 L start to the 2023 season!
    * I don’t mean to make light of the situation, but the Irony of it is the 9ers drafted Lance because JG was injury prone! Then Lance got hurt and once again, JG took over. Then JG got hurt and Mr Irrelevant took over and then he got hurt against the Eagles! And now, the 9ers are right back where we started from, only with two hurt QB’s!
    So Jack in your expert opinion, what do you expect the 9er FO will do with respect to the QB situation?

  3. They need to sign a veteran QB with some starting experience. The contract should be for about 2.5 mill guaranteed with incentives worth 4 or 5 mill more. Who will it be? We won’t know until about a week to 10 days into the FA signing period. At that point they will have the pick of who is left. They also need to draft a QB anywhere from round 3 to 7. The Vet they sign isn’t automatically going to be #3, he will likely start the season at #2 and could be there for as many as 4 to 5 weeks, giving Purdy some time to catch up. I am very curious who they will end up signing. If Purdy’s surgery doesn’t go well I think they will bring the guaranteed money up to the 5 mill range and will sign a QB in the first week.

    1. If Brady really loves his boyhood 49ers team, maybe he’d be OK with $2.5mil. Brady does not need another large paycheck, he has all the money he needs and has a multi-million deal with a Fox Sports gig waiting for him when he’s ready.

      A Brady led SB win with the 49ers makes for a great story and maybe a boyhood dream fulfilled?

      1. AES
        With all due respect, did you WATCH BRADY PLAY this last year?
        Brady wasn’t terrible this last season; he threw for the third-most passing yards in the league and the sixth-highest total of his career. But he was clearly not the player he once was! Granted, he didn’t have a championship-level team around him, but he’ll be another year older and he’s NOT going to get better!
        BTW: $2.5 Mil is pocket change to Brady, Fox announced that Brady is set to join the network as its lead NFL analyst when he retires. The New York Post reported that Brady is in line to receive $375m across 10 years. $2.5 Mil VS $375 Mil….No one love the 9ers that much….lNot when all 3 the of the 9er QB’s ended up getting hurt….

        1. My approach with TB is,
          1. He has a chance to go out on top with his boyhood team,
          2. The 49ers are heads and shoulders better than the Bucs who lost two of their top Olineman.
          3. Money is not an issue with Brady. He could unretire and come in on the cheap.
          4. He may not be what he used to be, but he would arguably have the best supporting cast that he’s ever had.
          5. I would only sign him to one year only. All incentives can be ironed out at the negotiating table.
          6. It’s a long off-season and opining on hypotheticals is par for the course. 😊

          1. Brady would never agree to being a back up and the Niners have no interest in him being a starter. They are committed to Trey and Brock as they should be.

  4. I imagine Brady would have written into his contract that he would have to be the starter from day 1 and could not be benched for any reason other than injury. He might settle for 2.5 guaranteed with incentives up to say 20 mill.

    1. I wouldn’t want TB unless he’s the starter. The incentives can fluctuate depending on what both parties agree on.

      I get a sense that players like Trent Williams and even Kittle might restructure their contract for a chance to have Brady on board. This regime has been known to make big splash moves and personally, I can’t put anything past them to surprise the football world with a big unconventional move bringing TB out of the retirement.

    2. What about Matt Ryan? He could be a cap casualty for Indy. Ryan played well under Shanahan for a couple years. What if he came on a 1-2 year contract?…..assuming Purdy isn’t able to comeback until midseason or later.

      1. If the surgeon gets in there and it is worse than expected I think all options are on the table What i’m curious about is if the surgery goes well do the 49ers still have to sign a Vet who could take them to the SB as opposed to a #3 QB? Just because the surgery goes well doesn’t mean Purdy won’t hit any number of bumps in the road during his recovery, pushing his return back to Oct, Nov or even later.

        1. If Purdy doesn’t regain his arm strength after throwing again, he may become a backup for the duration of his NFL career.
          Hopefully, he comes back better than pre-injury, but we won’t know until he’s had ample time to recover.
          How long that may take is anyone’s guess.

          If Brock is ready for surgery this coming week the window for getting back on the field
          In mid-late September still might be possible.
          But if Trey is winning when the season begins, it could become a bit complicated. But it will be a nice problem to have.

      2. Matt Ryan would make a nice piece, but I don’t believe that he’s a starter anymore. He’s always been a statue in the pocket and that puts him at risk every time he goes back to pass.

        Given how the NFL has made Edge Rushers a high priority, it’s imperative for the modern day QB to have some mobility.
        At least Brady can avoid sacks because of his quick trigger arm. Of course, my Brady to 49ers is based on pure hypothetical.

  5. I have some thoughts on the qb position…..and it seems they differ from most, so ill share them.
    Making lemonade from lemons…. the BP injury will allow the full vetting of TL. As bright as 2022 was for BP……the fact is, we’ve seen that from JG when healthy (good numbers, lots of wins, no SB victory)! And we gave up a boatload of picks to get a guy that has the possibility of being GREAT, ‘cos good is not enough.
    TL will get all the reps, and he needs ’em……and he’ll get a fair shot to prove himself. If he proves to not be the “guy”……then BP will step right in after getting a chance to fully heal.
    We know BP is a quality starter at the very least……possibly elite.
    TL could be good, bad, great…..we need to see before we move on….we have too much invested.
    This will all work itself out…..all due to BP’s injury.

    As far as a 3rd qb…….i want a young, talented reclamation project!
    Darnold, Marriotta, Wentz or even zac Wilson if NYJ move on. Sure, it would seem a tough sell…..getting a starting caliber guy who wants to start…..to sign on to be 3rd string. However, we would be one of the best teams to come to and build ones stock back up!
    Great team…
    great coaching….
    lock for postseason…
    and even though one might technically be the 3rd stringer……the 2 guys in front have a combined 12 NFL starts and 3 surgeries in less than a year! A combined 3 years in the league……
    Not to mention the niners have a history of using MANY qb’s……mostly due to injury.
    All these reasons brought JG back last year……great team, SB aspirations, young qb i could possibly beat out…..
    SD, MM, CW, ZW will all face the same choice JG had last year…….
    Go to the Texans ( or a team as bad) possibly start, get pounded, look bad, suffer a miserable season and likely never get another shot to start in this league …….or go to S.F., win games, have fun, go to the postseason, maybe end up playing a lot……but most importantly….build up stock and resurrect career

  6. “I get reports obviously, but my eyes tell me a lot and I’m watching Trey out there taking drops each day. I don’t see a limp.”

    I read this and my first reaction is, Trey Lance will never be the QB the 49ers thought they were getting when they drafted him. I’m sure, Immobile with questionable accuracy was not on the job description Shanahan drafted. I mean, he doesn’t have a peg leg so I think he’s recovering well isn’t exactly a great endorsement.

  7. It’s way too soon to give up on Trey. Time will tell but Lance’s biggest problem is Brock Purdy who I think is the real deal.

  8. None of the questions surrounding the 9ers QB room will, or can, be answered until Dr. Meister cuts into Brock Purdy’s elbow, and sews it back up….wait n see

  9. What an absolute JOKE of a franchise. There’s still an All Pro QB out there but Jed refuses to undo the huge mistake he made cutting Colin for political reasons.

    Colin Kaepernick would be an instant upgrade over “not durable, all potential” Trey Lance, “Mr. Irrelevent” Brock Purdy, and “Handsome” Jimmy G aka “the worst QB in the NFL” who coasts off his good looks and no actual talent.

    Maybe the rest of you are OK with a GM who can’t get a QB and a coach who will always choke in the clutch, but I’m not! The truth hurts!!

    1. Kaepernick last played in 2016. You should just leave at that. Before he left the game he had become a shell of the player who we saw in 2012. When I think of CK one word always comes to mind – “regressed”

      1. That guy just produces the same mantra over and over. Never anything new and never anything intelligent.

        1. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Especially, on a mostly opinionated sports blog.

        2. Felix

          Spoken like a true Smither. SMH.

          Too many fans focus on how sexy Jimmy G instead of judging him on the field. It was the same problem with Alex Smith. 49er fans forgot what its like to watch solid QB play.

          1. Bayarea,
            I’m not sure how old any of the other posters are or how long they have been 49er fans but ‘m not sure if Felix was even around when Smith was drafted or even his last year with the 9ers. So I don’t think he is/was a Smither

            1. Well Jimmy G and Alex Smith are exactly the same and I’m sure he loves Jimmy so he’s a Smither in my book. They are both pretty boys who were bad at football. Jimmy G is just Alex 2.0 and they probably have the same fans.

              1. bayareafanatic
                Just curious, but have you ever heard the old adage, “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?”

              2. GEEP….this guy isn’t serious about Sackorpick…he’s rattling cages…as far as catching more flies with honey than with vinegar…he’ the kind of guy that would walk up an kick a pile of dog 💩 to attract the flies

  10. The answer is to draft a QB. Learn from past drafts and realize these QBs out of college are more NFL ready than in the past. Brock Purdy when healthy will be ready as well which would give the 49ers three young options for the right to claim the stating position. As well as Purdy played last year, No QB since Jimmy G in 2019 has lasted the entire year as the starter for the 49ers. By drafting a quarterback, you will have a couple years with the same three young QBs battling it out, in the same system for cheaper price than saying a Nate Sudfield or Mullins. And each would add trade value for future draft capital, if necessary. Imagine if Trey Lance has a great year and how much value Purdy would have as a trade? Definitely get more than a 7th rd pick back where he was chosen. Having quality QBs on the rookie contract, like Purdy or B Zappe with NE Patriots, are far too valuable. DRAFT A QB is the answer. And do not force throwing the franchise quarterback label on Purdy or Lance or anyone else UNTIL one of them proves it like Hurts did for the PHI Eagles these last couple of years.

    1. Sean,
      The vast majority of QBs drafted fail, Thats true in the 1st round and in round 7. I believe that the two most difficult tasks for a front office of any sport are drafting a QB and hiring an NFL HC. The 49ers struck lightening in a bottle with BP, the chance of that happening again is minuscule.

      1. Zach Wilson was regarded as a can’t miss QB talent. He was bandied around on this and other 49ers blogs leading up to the 2020 draft. Most draftniks spoke highly of his strong arm, mobility and intelligence.
        Now, there’s a chance that he won’t be the 2023 starter in New York.

        Based on last year’s performance, Purdy may be the biggest find in rd. 7, that we’ve witnessed in a long time. I agree Coach, the 49ers did catch lightning in a bottle.

        1. Fortunately the Niners have caught lightning in a bottle a number of times so maybe it’s not all luck.
          The Zach Wilson situation is one that plays out time and time again. They get evaluated mostly because of their physical traits but there is so much more to being a QB. Unfortunately, we rarely get to find out why a specific QB like Wilson fails. His refusal to admit that he put his defense in a bad position might be a big clue but it sure would be interesting to know the specifics. It reminds me of Josh Rosen who is an extremely gifted athlete and very intelligent. With him we have a clue since his college coach seemed to indicate he wasn’t coachable. Maybe Wilson has a bigger ego than a brain.

          1. Felix,
            Josh Rosen is a very good example of a player showing extremely well in college and incapable of translating it to the NFL. It’s a cautionary tale that happens every year with great college players that never reach their potential in the NFL.
            Javon Kinlaw has been part of that group, but he will get another chance in 2023 to prove himself.

  11. While the 49ers wait on lasc Purdy, the news on Trey Lance was positive. The former first round pick returned to
    throwing last week and all signs point to him being ready to go when the 49ers hit the field for offseason workouts.

Comments are closed.