Videos by OutKick
The 49ers began the 2022 NFL season with a quarterback battle and will begin the 2023 season with the same. San Francisco has a decision to make about its future at the position and it is one that it surely would not have expected to make just eight months ago.
Where Kyle Shanahan had to decide between Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance last year, he will have to decide between Lance and Brock Purdy. Garoppolo will not be returning to the team.
Purdy finished the season as the starter after Lance began the season as the starter. Lance was the No. 3 overall pick in 2021. Purdy was the last pick in 2022.
They are both coming off injury, but are both expected to be at full strength by training camp.
Lance underwent season-ending surgery back in September and underwent his second surgery last week. Purdy tore his UCL in the NFC Championship game and will undergo surgery later this month.
All of this back and forth goes to say that where Lance was supposed to be the future for the 49ers, Purdy became the future for the 49ers. He completed 67.1% of his passes for 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns with just four interceptions after taking over for Garoppolo, who also suffered an injury.
Who gets the nod for the 49ers moving forward?
Although that question has yet to be answered, George Kittle made it clear who he thinks has the upper hand.
During a conversation with Von Miller at Super Bowl LVII in Arizona, San Francisco’s star tight end acknowledged that Lance has not had a “fair shot” at the job, but gave Purdy the nod.
He’s fantastic. Our offense operated at its highest it’s probably been since 2019. In my opinion, it’s Brock’s job to lose. But there will be competition since Brock is out until training camp due to surgery.— George Kittle, via The Von Cast
Kittle’s comments are sure to spread like wildfire. Some people, including Lance, may be surprised that he chose to be as bold as he was. Others may think it’s a no-brainer that it’s Purdy’s job to lose.
Either way, Kittle said what he said. He doesn’t make the decision, but he has a pulse on his team and he’s backing Purdy.