With Brock Purdy reportedly expected to be sidelined for the next six months, who the 49ers' starting quarterback will be next season took an interesting turn as the team officially enters the NFL offseason.
The NFL world can insert one more name into the Purdy versus Trey Lance QB battle: Tom Brady.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith believes if the 49ers are able to lure Brady back home to play for the team he used to root for as a child, San Francisco has a good chance to avenge what they nearly had this year.
“If Tom Brady went to the San Francisco 49ers, they should be the favorites,” Smith said on “First Take” on Tuesday morning.
The 49ers were one win away from Super Bowl LVII this season, but Smith believes Brady can get them back there next year.
While there's no denying Brady's GOAT status, it's fair to question how much the 45-year-old has left in his tank following a disappointing season with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who got booted in the wild-card round by the Dallas Cowboys.
"He can still ball, there’s no question about it. I have no doubt about that," Smith said. "I will tell you this, to me the biggest argument even beyond is how he ended this season. The fact of the matter is it’s pretty hard for a champion, let alone a seven-time champion, to go out like that.
"And I think if there’s an itch, it’s an itch to eradicate that. He certainly probably has a desire to want to go out better than that."
If Brady does decide to continue his NFL career, no matter where he decides to go, Smith thinks it will be for more than just one year.
And while Smith is riding high on the Brady possibility, he did double down on his stance about Purdy. Had Purdy not sustained a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his throwing elbow, which NFL Network reported Monday, citing sources, Smith was all in on Purdy being the starter for San Francisco next season.
"I'm inclined to believe that [Brady] ain’t going to come back for just one more year to play with somebody," Smith said. "If he’s going to come back, it’s going to be for a couple of years, and I just don’t see that guy playing a couple more years until he’s 47 years of age.
"I don’t view it that way, which is why I lean toward Brock Purdy. But with Brock Purdy being out for the next six months, that’s a different argument."
RELATED: Lance provides update on recovery, shares offseason goals
The "buts" and the "ifs" will be repeated all offseason as the 49ers make some big decisions in hopes of bringing the Vince Lombardi trophy back to the Bay for the first time since 1995.