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This 49ers Playoff Hero Earned A Starting Job In 2023

Updated: Jun 11, 2023

After getting destroyed in the 2022 NFC Championship, the San Francisco 49ers have a dilemma on their hands for the 2023 season. They have lost nine defensive players to free agency so far. But the real dilemma for San Fran? They have three quarterbacks who are all capable of being the starter.


Trey Lance is looking to fully recover from his season-ending ankle injury, Sam Darnold is the new kid on the block, and Brock Purdy is recovering from elbow surgery. Purdy is also the only one that played significant time for San Francisco last season. They also lost Jimmy Garoppolo to free agency making this a young QB room. So who do the 49ers go with? Let’s discuss this.


Sam Darnold’s Case

Out of the three quarterbacks competing for the starting job, Darnold has the most experience. That should be taken with a grain of salt considering he has missed games in every season he’s played in the NFL. He has amassed 11,767 passing yards and 61 touchdowns in his five seasons in the NFL.

Darnold joins the 49ers via free agency on a one-year, $4.5 million deal. Darnold might have more experience but his injuries have put him lower on the quarterback totem pole in San Fran.


He will be a solid QB3 for the 49ers and could make a living by helping the younger quarterbacks grow in 2023. The only reason Darnold sees the field in 2023 is for practice or if the other two quarterbacks get hurt.


Trey Lance’s Case


Now we can get serious about the quarterback race in San Fran. Trey Lance is coming off a season-ending ankle injury and needs to get back into the NFL pace of football. Just when Lance seemed to be in line for a significant role for the 49ers, he injures his ankle and is done in 2022.


Lance only started two games in 2022 and accumulated only 194 passing yards and zero touchdowns. As Lance preps for his third season in the NFL, he will have to both fully recover and take a major jump this season. There is a realistic chance he is the starter in 2023 but he has to prove he is healthy in camp.


It is no accident that the 49ers traded three first-round picks to move up and select Lance third overall in the 2021 draft. Now they need to see a return on that investment by Week One.


Brock Purdy’s Case

Finally, we have Mr. Irrelevant himself in Brock Purdy. Purdy entered as the starter after Jimmy Garoppolo broke his left foot against the Dolphins. Purdy burst onto the scene going undefeated in the regular season as the starter. By the time the playoffs started, Purdy looked like a seasoned veteran under center.


He finished the 2022 season with 1,943 passing yards and 16 touchdowns across the regular season and playoffs. The biggest worry about Purdy has to be the UCL injury that occurred in the NFC Championship game. Purdy went through a successful surgery and is now on the recovery side. If Purdy is fully healthy by camp, he should be sitting in the starting job slot until Lance proves otherwise.

He also has the support of 49ers general manager John Lynch who told ESPN, “I think Brock has earned the right with the way he played that he’s probably the leader in the clubhouse.”

Getting that level of support from the team owner should scare Trey Lance but excite Purdy because he has earned in the job, no doubt about it.


Brock Purdy might not be a Patrick Mahomes-level quarterback but he can win games and look good doing so and that is all that matters to John Lynch and company heading into 2023.

Final Thoughts On The 49ers QB Race


The 49ers were one game away from playing for the Super Bowl in a rematch against the Chiefs. They might look a little different on the defensive side of the ball but they will find a way to dominate still. As far as the quarterback competition, this is Brock Purdy’s job to lose.


He has earned his way to the top of the depth chart with his incredible run last season.

I said it before, Purdy might not be a Patrick Mahomes-level quarterback but he is good enough to be a starter.


Trey Lance has a shot once again to earn the starting job but he will have to prove it throughout all of training camp and all the way up until Week One. This 49ers quarterback room might not have a ton of experience but they are young and have plenty of talent that has yet to be tapped into.

 
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