What do Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Johnson, and Brock Purdy all have in common? Besides looking good rocking San Francisco’s typical red, gold, and white, they all commanded the 49ers offense last season at one point or another.
How the team managed to make it all the way to the NFC title game with all of its QB conundrums is something that speaks volumes and comes as a shock when thinking of the Niners. Yes, the whole narrative reads impressively, especially when considering Purdy’s rise to fame Yet, there’s no real reason any squad should suffer through so much peril with their passer position.
After a season that saw the Niners struggle greatly to find some sort of consistency in their QB department, this offseason will prove to be a pivotal time for San Francisco to try and rebuild the passing game.
One of the main talking points regarding the Niners is who should be San Francisco’s starting quarterback come the 2023 season. Should they rely on the players they have, like Purdy and Lance, especially with Jimmy G ready to hightail it out of the Bay Area? If not, is the team’s offensive savior in the NFL free agency market, or bringing in a recently retired passer?
For now, let’s break down San Francisco’s potential QB options for the 2023 season.
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Lance or Purdy, Who Holds the Edge?
Define contention as a plan for the Niners and I’ll give you an answer. San Francisco can brag about having one of the best, and most well-rounded rosters. But when it comes to their QB room, it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s not good enough. If you think about every single 49ers Super Bowl run, what did they all have in common? A strong and commanding presence at the QB position.
In the ’80s there was Joe Montana, for some people the best QB to play the game. Yes, even over Tom Brady. And in the mid-’90s there was Steve Young, who helped by GOAT receiver Jerry Rice and the rest of San Francisco’s offense, managed to pass for a record six touchdowns in their Super Bowl XXIX win against the Chargers.
So where does that leave the 2023 Niners? With good prospects in Lance and Purdy, both are recouping from injuries.
With Purdy the team has a QB that showed he can hang with the big boys. But after sustaining an injury to his throwing arm, it will still take some time for him to get back to full strength.
Lance on the other hand is almost ready to go. Yes, he only has four starts in his career, but that doesn’t deter the fact that he’ll be available sooner than Purdy. Still, that doesn’t escape that the passer will have his hands full trying to rebuild the chemistry with his receiver core, as well as his offensive line.
If the preseason were to start today, the job looks like it’s Lance’s to take back, keep, and not let go.
No, the Draft Is Not an Option
Without a first-round pick in the 2023 NFL draft, the San Francisco 49ers would have to work some voodoo magic to find a team willing to trade with them. But we’re not talking just any trade. It would have to be one where the Niners would not only get into the first round but also close enough to where any of the four main QB prospects are still available.
Before the NFL combine, the stock on Florida QB Anthony Richardson had him looking like a strong mid-first-round option. But after a stellar combine performance, Richardson’s stock has taken off, with experts already seeing him as a possible top-10 pick.
In all honesty, it would be stupid for the Niners to try and work out a deal to get into the first round, especially for a QB. And it would be more foolish for any team to contemplate making such a trade, no matter what the return looks like.
So instead, how about working on buffing up the offensive and defensive line, trying to snatch up a reliable defensive back, and praying for the best?
Give It Up, Brady Is Not an Option, Nor Is Hitting The Free Agency Market
Tom Brady is retired and is not coming back. You don’t make a video on the beach saying you’re retired, for people to then go and look for the spot and try to scam other people into buying sand from the said spot, only to come back. So even if the rumor of Brady willing to unretire to run it back one more time continues to make its rounds, it’s best to move on.
Taking Brady out of the equation, is there any true value in hitting the free agency market to look for a veteran passer to spruce up the competition in the QB room? No there isn’t.
It’s a much better bet to stick with Lance and Purdy, have them get to par and duke it out for the starting QB spot, rather than spend money on a veteran QB that will most likely not bring any significant value to the team.