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.