Rookie Brock Purdy entered the 2022 NFL season as the 49ers' third-string quarterback, but less than six months later, he already appears to have the 2023 starting job wrapped up.
The San Francisco Chronicle's Mike Silver reported Friday, citing two people with knowledge of the 49ers' thinking, that Purdy has won the battle to be the Niners' No. 1 quarterback next season.
Despite how much the 49ers invested in Trey Lance, Silver reported that barring a "seismic jump by Lance — and a shocking regression by Purdy, or an unfortunate injury," the 2021 No. 3 overall draft pick won't be the quarterback in Week 1 to start the 2023 season.
On the latest episode of "49ers Talk," NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and Jennifer Lee Chan addressed the topic of Purdy vs. Lance for next season, and they came to a similar conclusion.
"I don't think anyone can unseat him at the moment," Chan said earlier this week. "It's his job unless something catastrophic happens, I think it's his. And looking forward, he's the known factor at this point. Trey Lance is still unknown and what Brock Purdy has done to get the team to where it is now, I think, speaks for itself."
Purdy, the No. 262 and final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, was elevated to second-string quarterback behind Jimmy Garoppolo when Lance sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. But 11 weeks later, Garoppolo suffered a regular-season ending foot injury, thrusting Purdy into the spotlight.
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Amazingly, Purdy hasn't wilted under the pressure. He stepped in for Garoppolo against the Miami Dolphins in Week 13 and threw for 210 yards and two touchdown passes to lead the 49ers to victory.
Since then, all Purdy has done is win his first six career NFL regular-season starts and keep the streak going with a victory over the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Wild Card Round last weekend.
Purdy's next task is harder as the Dallas Cowboys descend on Levi's Stadium for a titanic NFC Divisional Playoff showdown Sunday.
As for Lance, who still is recovering from a second surgery on his ankle, it doesn't appear he has that much trade value.
Silver reported that he spoke with "several" NFL general managers and "high-ranking front-office executives" who told him that the most Lance likely would net the 49ers is a third-round draft pick.
Pro Football Network's Adam Beasley had a former NFL general manager and current personnel executive tell him the most he'd be comfortable giving up for Lance is a second-round draft pick and "something else."
Maiocco said on "49ers Talk" that he doesn't see the 49ers trading Lance. In addition to the limited asset package they could recoup, San Francisco would also be on the hook for $11 million in dead salary cap money if they dealt Lance. Plus, general manager John Lynch and coach Kyle Shanahan would then have to spend more money to sign a back-up quarterback for Purdy.
Is a second- or third-round draft pick, plus the dead cap money, enough for Lynch and Shanahan to trade Lance after they dealt three first-round picks to move up to select him two years ago?
The hope two years ago was that Lance would be the quarterback to lead the 49ers to their next Super Bowl title. But in an odd twist, Purdy has a chance to complete that task over the next few weeks, and if he can't get the job done this year, he'll be afforded the chance to try again next year.