Latest On 49ers’ Quarterback Situation

A year after spending the summer trying to trade Jimmy Garoppolo and then pivoting to a compromise that allowed the longtime starter to stay, the 49ers are late in another offseason headlined by an unusual quarterback situation.

Brock Purdy has resumed throwing, and’s Tom Pelissero notes (via Twitter) the Mr. Irrelevant-turned-starter remains on track to be ready for Week 1. Following his throwing program during the 49ers’ offseason sessions, Purdy will spend two weeks throwing in front of independent QB coach Will Hewlett and an orthopedic surgeon.

The 49ers’ party line continues to center around Purdy reprising his role as the team’s starter. The 2022 rookie revelation securing the job as expected would mark one of the more interesting conquests in modern NFL history, seeing as Purdy was chosen 262nd overall and will soon be participating in a training camp alongside two former No. 3 overall picks. Trey Lance and Sam Darnold spent OTAs and minicamp splitting the first-team reps in Purdy’s absence, but each obviously came into the NFL — Darnold in 2018, Lance in 2021 — in different realms as far as prospect pedigrees.

Going into camp, Darnold is believed to have the edge on Lance for San Francisco’s backup job, Adam Schefter of said during a recent Pat McAfee Show appearance (video link). The 49ers signed Darnold to a one-year, $4.5MM deal that came with $3.5MM guaranteed. The word of Darnold being ahead of Lance, who is tied to a $34.1MM fully guaranteed rookie contract, follows a report from earlier this offseason in which this was expectation.

In between the time Darnold signed and began his QB2 competition with Lance, the younger ex-No. 3 overall choice came up in trade rumors. The 49ers shot them down, and John Lynch spoke to Lance about the rumblings. It is worth wondering where the pre-draft rumors came from. While the 49ers have said they were not aiming to trade Lance, Schefter adds the QB did not produce a real trade market. It is not known what the 49ers would have considered an acceptable return for a player who has one season (2019) with extensive game work since high school, but Darnold staying ahead of Lance during camp would represent another setback for the ex-North Dakota State superstar.

The 49ers are planning to keep three quarterbacks, though only two figure to dress. Because of the Purdy and Josh Johnson injuries draining the drama from the NFC championship game, the NFL reintroduced the emergency QB rule. Teams can designate an emergency QB that is not part of an initial 48-man gameday unit. Plenty of reps remain, but as of now, Lance would project as San Francisco’s emergency passer.

Considering the 49ers tried to trade Garoppolo and give Lance the job without challenge last year, the latter being a real threat to enter a season as a third-stringer is a stunning development based on where his value stood as recently as last September. Eighth-year veteran Brandon Allen is also on San Francisco’s roster, signing shortly after the draft.

How a post-UCL surgery Purdy looks alongside Darnold and Lance once cleared will be another important component in the latest complex 49ers QB plot. For now, Purdy’s job is not believed to be under threat. That could conceivably change in camp, where Darnold might be the top competitor. Pressure will also be on Lance — who said he did not consider seeking an offseason trade — to stay afloat in a battle for the backup gig.

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