John Lynch: Brock Purdy ‘Leader in the Clubhouse’ for 49ers QB Job

The San Francisco 49ers will hold a quarterback competition, but according to GM John Lynch, the "leader in the clubhouse" is a healthy Brock Purdy.

The San Francisco 49ers will hold an open competition at quarterback, but according to general manager John Lynch, the presumed starter will be Brock Purdy. At the NFL owners meetings in Arizona, Lynch said that Purdy — when healthy — will be the “leader in the clubhouse” between he, Sam Darnold, and Trey Lance.

Brock Purdy Is the Presumed QB Starter for 49ers

This is a change from early February when head coach Kyle Shanahan wouldn’t commit to a plan at quarterback. When asked if Purdy would be the presumed starter next year, Shanahan said, “Those are things I haven’t even thought about at all, so right now we’re just working on coaches, and I think that stuff will play itself out by training camp.”

Purdy finished the season strong for San Francisco after replacing Jimmy Garoppolo, who replaced Trey Lance — both out due to injury. Had he enough passes to qualify, Purdy would have ranked fourth in adjusted net yards per attempt and sixth in expected points per play among all NFL quarterbacks.

Purdy’s play allowed him and the 49ers’ defense to make their way to the NFC Championship Game against the Philadelphia Eagles — a game that they might have won if Purdy had not been injured early on. His UCL, a ligament in his elbow, was torn after contact with Eagles pass rusher Haason Reddick.

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In Week 2 last season, Lance suffered a season-ending ankle injury, while Garoppolo suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 8. This offseason, Garoppolo left for the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency. He is expected to be at full health throughout the offseason and was nearly healthy enough to play in the NFC Championship Game as the primary backup.

Lance is still under contract, but his recovery has been slower than Garoppolo’s. However, Shanahan indicated that Lance is expected to be available for the full offseason workout schedule, and in early February, was just a few weeks away from full recovery. Meanwhile, to add to their quarterback room, the 49ers signed Sam Darnold, who also finished the season strong.

Purdy’s timeline is a bit longer, and at the owner’s meeting, Lynch indicated that the plan –for now — is for Purdy to be ready to throw in early June, 12 weeks after his surgery. Lynch said, “Our hope is he is ready to go in training camp.”

Lance and Darnold are both first-round picks; Lance was selected at third overall by the 49ers in 2021, while Darnold was selected by the New York Jets third overall in 2018 before he was traded to the Carolina Panthers. Purdy, as is well known, was drafted at 262nd overall, the final pick in the draft, in 2022.

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