Just two years into his career, Brock Purdy — the very last pick of the 2022 NFL draft — will try to lead his team to a Lombardi Trophy. Never before had a “Mr. Irrelevant” quarterback even started a regular season game before Purdy came along, let alone a Super Bowl.
And it’s all thanks to the Jacksonville Jaguars … kinda.
First, let’s rewind. In March 2021, the 49ers decided it was time to make a big change at the quarterback position. About a week after allowing their backup, C.J. Beathard, to leave in free agency, San Francisco traded away a massive amount (including first-round picks in 2022 and 2023) to the Miami Dolphins to move up for the No. 3 pick in the draft.
The newly acquired top three draft pick was used to select Trey Lance, a quarterback who started only four games in two seasons before the 49ers decided he was a bust and traded him to the Dallas Cowboys.
Instead, what proved to be the franchise-changing transaction of 2021 for the 49ers was the paltry two-year, $5 million deal Beathard received from the Jaguars.
Every year, the NFL awards compensatory draft selections to teams that suffered net losses in free agency in the offseason prior. For example, the Jaguars are expected to get a third-round pick this year because offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor left in free agency and signed a massive four-year, $80 million deal with the Kansas City Chiefs.
In 2022, the 49ers received three compensatory picks for their 2021 free agency losses. San Francisco got a pair of sixth-round picks for the departures of defensive linemen Solomon Thomas and Kerry Hyder, and the $2.5 million per year deal Beathard signed with Jacksonville was just barely enough to earn the 49ers a seventh-round compensatory pick.
That selection, the No. 262 pick in the 2022 NFL draft, was used to take Purdy. And the rest is history.