Maiocco: Purdy's injury opens 49ers' QB door for Lance, others


The fallout from the 49ers’ NFC Championship Game loss will continue to be felt throughout the offseason.

Two days ago it seemed to be a fait accompli that quarterback Brock Purdy would be entering the offseason atop the 49ers’ depth chart.

Now, things could look a lot more similar to last spring and summer.

Purdy will undergo surgery after sustaining a complete tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow, the NFL Network reported on Monday, citing sources.

Assuming Trey Lance is cleared to begin practice when the 49ers’ offseason program begins, he will take the first snaps of the offseason with the No. 1 offense.

And that will open the door for Lance to show the kind of development that could lead coach Kyle Shanahan to consider his options for the regular season.

The 49ers traded up in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Lance with the No. 3 overall pick, and while he has taken just 262 snaps with the 49ers, he largely an unknown quantity after his second NFL season ended in the first quarter of Week 2 due to a fractured ankle.

Let the conversation begin about other scenarios, too.

Purdy was a big reason the 49ers won eight consecutive games, including two in the playoffs, with him at quarterback. His steady hand and fit for Shanahan’s system seemingly closed the door on all speculation surrounding Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers . . . and Jimmy Garoppolo.

Brady and Rodgers are not coming off great seasons. More than at any point in their NFL careers, at times they looked their ages.

Brady, who is a free agent, has yet to determine whether he is going to try to play a 24th NFL season.

Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers seem to be ready for a split after 18 seasons. If Rodgers chooses to continue playing, he could find himself elsewhere in a trade.

And Garoppolo . . . well, who knows?

A year ago, Garoppolo said his good-byes to everybody around the 49ers after the team’s loss in the NFC Championship Game to the Los Angeles Rams.

Then, Garoppolo’s trade market dried up when he underwent shoulder surgery. He accepted a pay cut to return to the 49ers as Lance’s backup.

Garoppolo is scheduled for free agency, and it would be the greatest surprise of all if he does not have an opportunity for a starting role — and a corresponding contract — with another team.

RELATED: NFL exec predicts 49ers trade Lance, sign Brady

It was already going to be an interesting offseason for how Shanahan, Lynch and the 49ers opt to handle their quarterback situation with Purdy and Lance.

Purdy’s injury opens the door for countless possibilities for a team that once again proved it has a roster that is ready to win.

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