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Young confident next Purdy contract won't hinder 49ers' future

Young confident next Purdy contract won't hinder 49ers' future originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Brock Purdy is due for a massive payday after the 2024 NFL season, and the 49ers have been preparing for it.

San Francisco knows, as it made evident by reportedly testing the trade market for wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel, that Purdy -- currently the 54th-highest-paid player on the roster -- soon will be taking up more cap room from other areas of need.

But there are methods the 49ers can utilize to circumvent the undesirable roster overhaul that other NFL teams implement to pay their stars. In talking to “Willard and Dibs” on 95.7 The Game on Tuesday, legendary 49ers quarterback Steve Young outlined how San Francisco can make do with Purdy potentially making $50 million per season.

“Well, that's why you've got to think about [it],” Young told Mark Willard and Dan Dibley. “If you trade a superstar, but you can get a number one draft pick and then you draft well -- now you've got a replacement. It's not as -- because you got to go train people. But the teams that are successful -- transitioning into this kind of multi-generations the last 15 years, or even the last 10 years -- have figured out a way to replace superstars with rookie contracts that get into the system really quick. And they're great. They can tutor people quickly, right?

“They get ingested into the system very fast. So that's why the 49ers are very bold about it because of all the places in the league -- like if I had a son that could play offense for the 49ers right now, I'm like, ‘yes,' because whoever you are, you're gonna be the best you can be. It's like the army right back in the day. You're going to find out how good you are because the best you'll ever be is in this system where they teach you so well and they deploy you so uniquely and they have a system that's in place that gets the most out of you.

“That's where they're going to be able to sustain Brock Purdy making $50 million a year. Because they're going to have a bunch of rookies that you don't know today.”

Young believes San Francisco can sustain success with Purdy making $50 million a year by maximizing talent on rookie contracts, primarily by drafting well.

Of course, the 49ers selected two wide receivers during the 2024 NFL Draft -- Florida’s Ricky Pearsall (Round 1, No. 31) and Arizona’s Jacob Cowing (Round 4, No. 135) -- while shopping its current stars at the position. Perhaps San Francisco already is playing out its plans from years ago.

Nevertheless, maximizing a rookie’s standard four-year contract is where the 49ers can find sustainability, in Young’s eyes.

“They're going to, hopefully, be the guys that can take you to a Super Bowl in the first four years of their rookie contract that are not the names that you see today,” Young concluded. “If you think the names that you see today, plus Brock Purdy being paid are going to go to the Super Bowl in a couple of years, that's impossible. So, that's impossible.

“Just get ready for a new name, a number for a first or second-round director between the third or fourth… I mean, they got a great thing going and I think that they can turn it over and keep great talent coming in.”

Young knows that a pending expensive Purdy, alongside big-name offensive players like Samuel and Aiyuk, will cause financial headaches that San Francisco -- or any team -- wouldn’t be able to afford.

That’s why Young believes the 49ers' best route is to capitalize on their draft choices while keeping the door open on trades involving their most talented players.

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