The arrival of the offseason is always abrupt.
For the 49ers, in concert with the reported UCL injury to Brock Purdy, it means rampant speculation about how the team will handle the quarterback position.
It also begs the question, what are opposing teams expecting the 49ers to do?
According to Mike Sando of The Athletic, there are a lot of varying opinions. In Sando’s latest column, he spoke to multiple people around the league.
Maybe the most intriguing scenario proposed by an unnamed executive? Trading Trey Lance to the Tennessee Titans and signing Tom Brady. From the article:
“I think they will trade Trey Lance to Tennessee and then they will end up with Brady and Brady will play one year for his home team, and they will have Brock Purdy as the backup,” an exec from another team predicted. “That is the chatter. They have the defense already, Brady wants to win one more, and this is right up the 49ers’ alley.”
The inclination to make Tennessee a destination stems from both the obvious fact that their quarterback situation is unsettled, along with the hiring of former 49ers vice president of player personnel, Ran Carthon, as the team’s general manager.
That’s not a uniform opinion, though, as represented by another source Sando referenced:
“I don’t think Lance has enough value right now to trade him,” another exec said.
The most straightforward scenario, of course, is to let Garoppolo go on his way, likely netting a high compensatory draft pick, and letting the two young guys duel it out this offseason.
From another source Sando quotes:
“They’ll let Jimmy G walk, have Purdy compete with Lance, and the job will be Purdy’s to lose,” an agent who represents other quarterbacks predicted. “They’ll be open to a Lance trade, knowing that is a long shot. Purdy is so much cheaper than Jimmy, they can add players around Purdy now and maybe still develop Lance.”
That last suggestion seems the most logical, given that Purdy and Lance will cost a combined roughly $10 million, whereas Brady or any other veteran would cost substantially more. Trading Lance would also cost more than $11 million in dead cap for the 49ers.
As of right now, and according to multiple previous reports before Sunday, it’s probably Purdy’s job to lose. But his elbow injury and the nature of NFL offseasons make everything awfully murky.