San Francisco 49ers must decide between 'two starters' at quarterback

A quarterback competition is imminent in the Bay Area.

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media Wednesday and shed some light on the team’s quarterback situation.

“I know we have two starters on our team right now that I believe we can win with,” Shanahan said. “When you have that situation, you’re not that eager to go looking around.”

The two starters the 49ers believe they have are Trey Lance and Brock Purdy -- two quarterbacks on rookie contracts. They aren’t going to persuade Tom Brady to unretire, search around for another veteran signal-caller or invite Jimmy Garoppolo back for another trial run.

Shanahan shut the door on a Garoppolo, who signed a one-year restructured contract in 2022, return next season.

“No, I don’t see any scenario of that,” Shanahan said.

More: Brock Purdy suffers complete UCL tear, likely to require surgery

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Brock Purdy had won seven consecutive starts before the 49ers' loss to the Eagles in the NFC championship game.
Brock Purdy had won seven consecutive starts before the 49ers' loss to the Eagles in the NFC championship game.

The 49ers are moving forward with two young quarterbacks who are both currently injured. Purdy suffered an elbow injury in the 31-7 NFC championship game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and is expected to be sidelined for six months. Lance sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. They were two of the four quarterbacks to go down in what was a snake-bitten position group for San Francisco this year.

But prior to Purdy’s injury, he had been a revelation. He won each of his first seven career starts, including playoffs, and is the fifth rookie QB to start and win in the divisional round. It’s not lost on the franchise that he helped lead them to the doorstep of a Super Bowl berth.

When it comes to Lance, the 49ers invested a lot in the dual-threat quarterback. San Francisco traded three first-rounders and a third-round pick to acquire him in the 2021 NFL draft.

Purdy is currently a better pocket passer and more accurate. He completed 67% of his passes and had a 107.3 passer rating in the regular season. Lance has a stronger arm, is more mobile, exudes potential, but is still raw. He’s completed roughly 55% of his passes and has a 84.5 passer rating in eight career games.

Lance is expected to be back by OTAs. Purdy’s return to the field could come around training camp.

“The bottom line is you better have a quarterback you really believe in because it’s such an important position. There happens to be two young guys that we really like,” Lynch said.

The 49ers “really like” Lance and Purdy, but when the two are both healthy presumably around training camp, it sets the stage for a difficult conundrum. Who is going to start at quarterback for a franchise that’s been to two consecutive NFC championship games? If the 49ers answer the question correctly it could be what catapults them over the hump.

Follow USA TODAY Sports' Tyler Dragon on Twitter @TheTylerDragon.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: San Francisco 49ers have quarterback conundrum in 2023 NFL offseason