San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have both spoken about quarterback Brock Purdy at the owner's meetings this week, and they both said essentially the same thing: were it not for the injury, Purdy would be QB1.
“I think it would’ve been pretty easy if Brock was healthy because of the way Brock played last year," Shanahan said. "He’d be the starter going into it.”
"We've always said we don't care where you were drafted, if you were drafted, that's always been our stance," Lynch said via NFL.com. "We're still very excited about Trey [Lance], but I think the way Brock played, he probably has earned that right to be the guy."
“I think Brock has probably earned that right to be the guy. If we were to line up, he’d probably take that first snap.”
- John Lynch on the 49ers’ QB situation pic.twitter.com/E8NN0pbHTw
— 49ers on NBCS (@NBCS49ers) March 27, 2023
Purdy, the 2022 draft's Mr. Irrelevant, changed the direction of the Niners entire franchise when he replaced the injured Jimmy Garoppolo last year, looking nothing like a rookie as he led the team to the playoffs. He was knocked out of the NFC championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles when he injured the elbow of his throwing arm, which turned out to be a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament.
The plan for Purdy's absence
How long Purdy will be out is still unknown. In early March he had surgery on his elbow, which could take 6-8 months to heal. Shanahan gave his best estimate, noting that they'll know more in a few months.
“He won’t be able to do anything on the field until, who knows. It can be anywhere from six months to eight months. I think we’ll have a better idea...at three months out of surgery, they’ll have a better idea whether it’ll be six months or eight months. That’s how it heals. That’s all I know and I’m good with that.
"We’ll see in three months if he’ll be ready for camp. If Brock throws, and he’s a little sore, it might be Week 1. I’m hearing at the latest it might be Week 4. It’s all estimations. We’ll see what happens.”
In the meantime, Shanahan said that both Lance and Sam Darnold (who was signed on March 13) would be getting first-team reps in OTAs and training camp while Purdy heals.
"We'll open it up for whatever," Shanahan said via NFL.com. "We know what we got healing up. … We have a guy who proved himself last year, and we have a guy in Trey Lance who we were believing in enough to give him the keys to our whole organization and unfortunately, he got hurt. And we also got a free agent who came in who we've always been a huge fan of. So, I can't wait to get to OTAs and practice, get to training camp and just let itself play out."