The San Francisco 49ers have another QB conundrum on their hands, but the waters may not be as murky as in years past depending on the health of Brock Purdy. As things stand now, however, general manager John Lynch did tell reporters on Monday that they plan to enter the offseason program and training camp later this summer with Purdy, Trey Lance, and recently signed Sam Darnold all competing for the starting job for 2023.
That said, Lynch also heaped praise onto Purdy, who is recovering from offseason elbow surgery, and dubbed him "the leader in the clubhouse" as it relates to which player may have the inside track at eventually getting the job.
"I think Brock has earned the right with the way he played that he's probably the leader in the clubhouse," said Lynch, via ESPN. "If we were to line up, he'd probably take that first snap."
Purdy underwent surgery to repair his UCL earlier this month and the team still expects him to resume throwing roughly three months post-surgery. Lynch added Monday that the team hopes that "he's ready to go for training camp."
If Purdy is a full go for training camp, that creates a fascinating competition. While Darnold should be looked at as more of a veteran depth piece at this point in his career, the battle between Purdy and Lance puts the organization in a precarious position. After all, San Francisco did trade three first-round picks to move up to the No. 3 overall pick to select Lance back in 2021, but he has yet to truly showcase himself as the franchise cornerstone. He was a backup to Jimmy Garoppolo for the bulk of his rookie season and then suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 last year.
Meanwhile, Purdy -- who was Mr. Irrelevant last offseason -- came in following both Lance and Garoppolo getting hurt and played at a tremendously high level. He helped bring the Niners to the NFC Championship and could have maybe progressed even further had it not been for suffering that elbow injury early in that contest.
Given that background, Purdy does present a known commodity for the Niners as someone who can bring them to the doorstep of the Super Bowl. That said, they have yet to see any return on their blockbuster trade to get Lance and may want to see that investment through if he shows glimpses of his potential between now and Week 1.