The San Francisco 49ers are in yet another offseason with their quarterback situation up in the air. Jimmy Garoppolo gave way to Trey Lance a bit last offseason, but injuries to both of those guys thrust Brock Purdy into the spotlight.
Now, Garoppolo is out of the picture as a free agent with Lance recovering from an ankle injury and Brock Purdy waiting to undergo surgery on his torn UCL. He was originally scheduled to have surgery on Wednesday, but that has been delayed due to elbow inflammation.
Even if Purdy’s surgery and recovery go as planned, it’s no guarantee that he’ll be ready for training camp and the start of the season. Lance is ramping up his recovery but hasn’t been fully cleared yet.
Lance is entering his third NFL season after being selected with the third overall pick in 2021. He has yet to have a normal offseason as a starter in his career. Lance was behind Garoppolo as a rookie, ahead of him last year with the veteran still on the roster, and now is recovering from his season-ending injury.
Evan Giddings and Marc Grandi of the Audacy Original Podcast “The 415ers” talked about Lance’s previous offseasons and explained why this offseason may be his most normal one yet.
“I do think it is this offseason because I think it’s the cleanest slate that he’s had thus far,” Giddings said (12:22 in player above). “The cleanest slate with, I will say, the best preparation… He is the most prepared to grab, potentially, the starting job by the reins in this offseason than the previous two, in my opinion. His first one, obviously, because he’s behind Jimmy Garoppolo. His second one because he clearly, according to what Kyle Shanahan called for him, wasn’t ready to be that pocket-passing quarterback that was advertised to us when he was drafted.
“This year, I do think that Trey Lance has the opportunity with nobody behind him right now, assuming the 49ers don’t sign anyone, to make the next step and hopefully prove all the doubters wrong.”
The 49ers may not have a healthy quarterback right now, but Lance is on track to be cleared much sooner than Purdy, who has yet to even undergo surgery.
“You kind of get the sense that Trey Lance relishes these kinds of opportunities,” Grandi said. “You get the sense that he’s the kind of guy that just wants that chance and is happy with that chance, and if he doesn’t do enough to win the starting job then he’s OK with that and he can live with that. But you do get that sense that he enjoys just the competitive side of this game and who knows what happens if he takes advantage, maybe this is the turning point of his career.”
The 49ers made the NFC Championship Game but fell to the Eagles after Purdy was injured early on. They have all the pieces to run it back next season and a healthy Lance at quarterback could be just what they need.