Before the 2022 NFL season, the 49ers had their hands full with an offseason headlined by quarterback drama. One year later, another conundrum has risen at the position.
After a season with four quarterback injuries, concerns arose about the club’s inability to protect their QBs. And with Trey Lance and Brock Purdy recovering from their own injuries, a third quarterback seems almost necessary heading into the 2023 season.
San Francisco general manager John Lynch addressed those concerns at the NFL Scouting Combine on Tuesday, stating the 49ers will do what they can to avoid last season’s problems from occurring again.
“We made that decision last year and I felt really good going into training camp that we were insulated in the event that anything happen -- and unfortunately it wasn’t quite enough,” Lynch said. “It got us right at the end. I think we’re all products of our experiences, we’ve learned.
“[I] was in some meetings today where the league’s discussing potential solutions for a third quarterback. But the reality is it’s very few and far between where those instances happen. So, we’ll see. Yeah, we may have to look in the quarterback market in addition to Brock and Trey, to insulate ourselves from whatever may happen.”
The 49ers entered the season with Lance, the former No. 3 overall pick, as their QB1, veteran signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo as his backup and Purdy, aka Mr. Irrelevant, as the third option.
When Lance and Garoppolo went down with injuries, Purdy emerged as the starter, and the 49ers brought in their fourth quarterback of the season, 36-year-old quarterback Josh Johnson for insurance.
As painful as the end of the season was for the 49ers, Lynch and the organization are focused on the future. With Garoppolo expected to part ways with the team, for good this time, the 49ers have two young QBs in Lance and Purdy, who both are recovering from their respective injuries this summer.
Lance, who's recovering from two separate surgeries after sustaining a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2 of the 2022 season, is recovering well and has started throwing, Lynch said. He's expected to be back in time for 2023 OTA's.
Meanwhile, Purdy is scheduled to meet with his surgeon this week in Arizona and could have an elbow procedure early next week. Though he originally was scheduled to undergo surgery on Feb. 22, the 49ers remain optimistic that Purdy will be good to go by September.
But 49ers fans aren't convinced. They want a third QB as a security blanket and as soon as the 2022 season ended, speculation began on who that could be.
Tom Brady? Aaron Rodgers? Do they bring Garoppolo back -- again -- after saying they were moving on from him?
Lynch had the answers.
"Jimmy has been tremendous for us," he said. "In our first year at the end of the year, we do a trade and Jimmy comes in and lights it up. And a lot of people want to talk about what we didn’t accomplish with him -- what I know is we won a lot of football games with Jimmy. I admire -- we admire -- his toughness, we admire the teammate that he was.
"I know everyone wants to talk about some discourse and all that but I do believe it’s probably run its course. I think we leave with nothing but fond memories of Jimmy, and Jimmy’s going to go play good football for someone."
Brady officially retired from the NFL on Feb. 1, but many have speculated he could unretire -- again -- and join his childhood team in the Bay.
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Lynch revealed that he exchanged text messages with Brady this offseason.
"As for the other guy, I sent him a text when he retired," Lynch said. "He was a teammate for about three weeks at one point. Just, ‘Congratulations on one of the greatest careers that I’ve ever seen in any sport,’ and I wished him the best. So we’ll leave it at that."
If there's one thing we've learned about the 49ers and their quarterback situations, truly anything can happen and nothing is ever off the table. For now, though, Lynch will explore all options.