Will Brock Purdy become ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ again next season?
The quarterback tore his UCL in the NFC Championship game, and the injury may have affected his shot at being the 49ers’ starter next year
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy took the NFL by storm this season. Despite being labeled “Mr. Irrelevant” as the last pick in the 2022 draft, Purdy made himself relevant by winning his first seven games as an NFL starting quarterback.
On Sunday, his win streak ended and his new reputation as “Mr. Relevant” was put at risk after he was bit by the injury bug that’s been plaguing the 49ers’ quarterbacks room.
Purdy tore the UCL in his throwing elbow during the 49ers’ loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship, NFL Network insider Tom Pelissero reported.
The injury bug continued its biting spree when Josh Johnson came in to replace Purdy but suffered a concussion. With Johnson out, Purdy returned in the third quarter and only threw two passes, according to ESPN.
“(Purdy) didn’t lobby much (to play) because he went and kept throwing and realized he couldn’t. So there was no real discussion after that,” coach Kyle Shanahan said in his press conference after the game, per NFL.com. “He couldn’t throw, and then when he came in we had to decide what he could throw, and there weren’t too many options.”
If indeed Brock Purdy can have the UCL repaired and avoid Tommy John, the standard timeline for return is 6 months, giving him a chance to be ready right around the start of camp. https://t.co/uxmZh2dc8y— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) January 30, 2023
The rookie quarterback is seeking second opinions in hopes the injury only requires a repair and not a reconstruction, which would be Tommy John surgery, so he can be ready for training camp in July, Pelissero said.
A repair would only sideline him for six months. Recovery from Tommy John surgery could take up to two years, but 85% of athletes that undergo the surgery can return to their pre-injury form, according to WebMD.
What is Brock Purdy’s future with the 49ers?
Prior to Purdy’s injury, NFL analysts and insiders were discussing whether the 49ers should trade Trey Lance and have Purdy be their franchise quarterback moving forward.
The 49ers traded up to draft Lance third overall in the 2021 NFL draft, but he suffered a season-ending right ankle injury during the second game of this season.
Purdy threw for 13 touchdowns and four interceptions and rushed for one touchdown in nine games this season, according to ESPN. His performance put him in the running for the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year award, the Deseret News previously reported.
In comparison, Lance threw for five touchdowns and three interceptions and rushed for one touchdown in his eight games of NFL action, according to ESPN.
Ahead of Sunday’s NFC Championship game, Ryan Clark of ESPN’s “First Take” said Purdy has to be the starting quarterback next season because he doesn’t know how to lose in the NFL.
“They have to finally say — whether it was Kyle Shanahan’s decision or (general manager) John Lynch’s decision — ‘We made a mistake with Trey Lance,’” he said, per Twitter. “So no matter what happens on Sunday, going into next year, Brock Purdy is the quarterback without competition.”
.@Realrclark25 believes Brock Purdy has earned himself the 49ers starting QB position next season 👀 pic.twitter.com/xjCCZMjMOK— First Take (@FirstTake) January 27, 2023
With his injury and a sample size of only eight starts, will Purdy’s future as the 49ers starting quarterback be thrown out the window?
Mike Sando of the Athletic spoke with an anonymous NFL executive about the 49ers’ quarterback situation on Sunday and reported the team could move on from Lance.
“I think they will trade Trey Lance to Tennessee and then they will end up with (Tom) Brady and Brady will play one year for his home team, and they will have Brock Purdy as the backup,” the executive said. “That is the chatter. They have the defense already, Brady wants to win one more, and this is right up the 49ers’ alley.”
This plan could give San Francisco more time to assess Purdy before giving him the keys to the kingdom.