Who will be the San Francisco 49ers’ starting quarterback in Week 1 of the 2023 NFL season? Will it be Brock Purdy, the rookie quarterback who suffered a completely torn UCL against the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game and now has a six month recovery time ahead of him? How about Trey Lance, who had a second surgery in early January but and is currently still in a walking boot? Jimmy Garoppolo could return, as he did in 2022, even if a clean break would make sense for both parties.
How about Tom Brady, Garoppolo’s former teammate in New England and native son of the Bay Area? While this idea has been passed around before, The Athletic’s Mike Sando added even more fuel to the fire on Monday with a featured spot in his “Sando’s Pick Six” column.
Tom Brady, anyone? Don’t laugh, because the 49ers have options, resources and lots of time before any binding decisions must be made regarding the young quarterbacks already on their roster, including the promising Brock Purdy. They will mourn this crushing defeat, and then they must ask themselves a question.
Could Purdy go from an undefeated regular season starter with a 2-1 record in the postseason to a bench-riding clipboard holder behind a quarterback many consider the “Greatest of all Time?” Considering Lance spent much of his rookie season on the bench behind Garoppolo, albeit largely due to injury, if Shanahan can secure a short-term, win-now upgrade that helps him get back to the Super Bowl, many feel he would pursue it.
An NFL Exec Believes Kyle Shanahan Will be Aggressive
Elsewhere in his column, Sando provided the testimony of an NFL executive on how he feels the 49ers’ offseason will go, suggesting that the second-generation head coach could take a hands-on approach to upgrading his team.
“Everybody knows that (49ers coach) Kyle Shanahan will make moves,” an exec from another team predicted Sunday night, speaking on the condition of anonymity for competitive reasons. “He is involved in everything, all the time. He made the exploratory call to Green Bay on Aaron Rodgers (in 2021). He is a doer, not a talker.”
If Shanahan was willing to call his former coworker and friend Matt LaFleur to ask about Aaron Rodgers’ availability in 2021 despite the Green Bay Packers coming off of a 13 win season, it’s safe to say he’ll be willing to give a call to Brady should he hit free agency.
The San Francisco 49ers Took a Very Real Shot at Aaron Rodgers
Appearing on the Rich Eisen Show shortly after the 2021 NFL Draft, Shanahan detailed how, when he heard Rodgers could be on the move, he made a call to LaFleur to see if a deal could be hatched.
“The exact truth is I don’t want to wake up the next day on Friday and see Aaron Rodgers, one of the best quarterbacks in this league, traded without doing any due diligence on it,” Shanahan said via Packers Central. “So, I just called Matt (LaFleur) and asked him if there’s anything to it. And Matt told me I’d be wasting my time if we had [general manager John] Lynch call.”
Does Shanahan’s interest in Rodgers then have anything to do with Brady’s potential availability now? No, but if he was willing to either keep Lance on the bench or forgo him entirely to acquire Rodgers, Shanahan would probably be willing to burn a year of Purdy’s rookie contract to go for the Super Bowl with Brady under center.