49ers need veteran QB alongside Purdy, Lance


SANTA CLARA — Just imagine the 49ers’ sales pitch to veteran quarterbacks when free agency talks officially can start Monday:

“Sure, we already have two quarterbacks we love. But we still have room in our heart — and quarterback room — for you.” 

“Come to the 49ers, where we’ve started three quarterbacks in every season except one (2019) since Kyle Shanahan took over as coach in 2017.”

“Joe Montana. Steve Young. And you. The only quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl for the 49ers. Imagine that. Could be your ticket to join them in Canton.”

Last season proved the value of having a quarterback, particularly one who can throw a forward pass, when competing for a championship.

Trey Lance, as was the case a year ago, is poised to serve as QB1 throughout the offseason and summer, which is a long enough runway to secure the starting job for the regular season.

Brock Purdy’s elbow surgery Friday brought optimism that he could be ready by September, but the 49ers still need another quarterback or two — or probably even three to join Lance at training camp.

Jimmy Garoppolo is fully expected to leave as a free agent and officially end a 5 1/2-year tenure with the 49ers. Here is how that marketplace looks for him and them:


Lance, Purdy

Attention now shifts from Purdy, the late-season phenom, to Lance, the 2021 draft’s still-maturing asset. So much hope now rests on Lance’s ability to recover from his Sept. 18 ankle fracture, which required a follow-up surgery Dec. 30. The 49ers have two months to get Lance ready for on-field practices, and while he remains a mystery with only four career starts, the time is now for him to embolden himself as a locker-room leader and capable quarterback. Purdy certainly built up that respect in his two-month shift in relief of Garoppolo, so if Purdy can get fully healthy in only six months, then the 49ers have a wonderful dilemma on their hands regarding the starting job.


Garoppolo, Josh Johnson

A Dec. 4 foot fracture kept Garoppolo from suiting up again for the 49ers, whom he went 38-17 as a starter in the regular season, plus 4-2 marks through playoff runs following the 2019 and 2021 seasons. Johnson’s first career playoff action came in an NFC Championship Game cameo where he went 7-of-13 for 74 yards with a fumble and two sacks before a third-quarter concussion.



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