After a fantastic season from third-string QB Brock Purdy, Yahoo Sports’ Scott Pianowski and Frank Schwab discuss who could be San Francisco’s center next year.
Transcript of video
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: So here’s the $64,000 question, Frank Schwab– who is the 49ers quarterback next year?
FRANK SCHWAB: I mean… and we record this at least Monday morning for me, Monday early afternoon for you. We have not heard if we have received the results of Brock Purdy’s MRI. We are both baseball players. We know UCL is oh no. That’s bad news, especially for a guy who throws a ball for a living. If he’s torn that and needs surgery, whether it’s Tommy John or something, that probably wipes out next season for him? I guess.
For example, we don’t see that often from quarterbacks. I believe Ben Roethlisberger handled this second to penultimate season. He had a similar injury, he needed a complete reconstruction there. And he missed the rest of that season and really didn’t look the same after that. So Purdy, who doesn’t– I mean, he’s obviously not the strongest arm in the world– comes back from elbow surgery like that? Like, we have to see where he is with Purdy.
Let’s say– I think if he comes back, he’ll be their quarterback. I think if it’s a six-week injury, a two-month injury, whatever, if he’s able to be 100 percent by training camp, opening day, he’s their starting quarterback Week 1. He just did too much. They believe him no matter what.
The question is, what if it isn’t? What happens if he can’t answer the bell Week 1 for the regular season because of that UCL? I don’t know what they are doing. I really don’t.
Last night I spoke to Charles Robinson from our capsule. And he said that basically the confidence level in Trey Lance around the 49ers is as low as it can be. Like, it just doesn’t sound like that’s the answer they want on opening day next year, whatever the reasons– injury, just that he hasn’t played much, whatever.
Do they go out and go to the vet? I mean, is Jimmy G coming back? I do not know. I don’t have a great answer. Charles brought up the possibility of Tom Brady. Like, maybe. I could see it. It’s a perfect situation…
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Wouldn’t it be perfect?
FRANK SCHWAB: –just like Tampa was.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I mean, Brady is going back to San Francisco, right? He grew up a 49er fan. I think it was in The Catch game, right?
FRANK SCHWAB: Yes, yes, he was in The Catch. So I don’t know. Your answer is Purdy if healthy. If Purdy isn’t healthy, I have no idea. And that’s such an important thing because think about it, all these guys that we’re going to draft.
And I mean, I guess some of them are independent quarterbacks. Like, they’re going to be good, any quarterback. McCaffrey is going to be a beast. Kittle is great. Deebo, Aiyuk, all these guys are phenomenal. And you’ll make them up regardless.
But depending on how we respond at quarterback– I mean, C-Mac could be the first pick, at least the first running back. But if we really don’t know who his quarterback is, if it’s Trey Lance again… I like Trey Lance, but who knows? All of a sudden you’re like, hmm, maybe I’ll pull a receiver here instead of McCaffrey. I mean, things like that will change it a little bit.
Who do you think? I guess I don’t know if you agree with me. Purdy is our guy if he’s healthy. But if not, who do you like?
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: I agree with you. I think Purdy is the guy if he’s healthy. And I think if he’s not healthy, they go out. I could see Brady coming here. Maybe they’re talking to Derek Carr or something.
The thing is, this is a team– and obviously they’re going to lose Ryans, their great defensive coordinator. But this is the team that was built to go deep into the playoffs again, that could easily be a Final Four team again next year. So they have to get that right, which is why I don’t think they’re taking the bait on Trey Lance, who– it’s just crazy that he hasn’t played a meaningful season of football since 2019.
FRANK SCHWAB: I know. I know.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: And in football years, that feels like a decade ago, doesn’t it? I mean he hardly plays in 2020. It’s a year of COVID. He played at a low level of competition in college anyway. And then he had two injury-free years with the Niners. We have no idea.
And he was chosen by speculation to begin with. He was selected for development as a start. It wasn’t like he entered the NFL as a finished product — not to commoditize him, but you know what I mean. We have no idea if Trey Lance will be a good pro.
And the Niners, like you said, not only didn’t know it, but it sounds like what Charles, the information he’s getting is that they’re concerned — I’d be shocked if Trey Lance was their starting day. I think it must be someone other than him.
FRANK SCHWAB: And you just wonder what’s going on with Trey Lance at this point. Like, keep it around as a high-level backup and see what clicks? Because if any team knows the value of backup quarterbacks, it’s the 49ers.
They don’t just hand out guys. They know we might need Trey Lance as a backup. And he’s not making much money relative to the market. So I’d guess he’s around as their backup and they’re just seeing where it goes. But I agree with you. I don’t know that it’s necessarily going to be Trey Lance on opening day, whoever it is.
But it’s hard to find a quarterback. Yeah, I mean, Brady sounds great. Brady will be 46 next year, you know? I mean, if it’s Derek Carr– other teams want Derek Carr. If the Jets can’t get Aaron Rodgers, they want Derek Carr. It’s just going to be very, very interesting to see how this plays out.
And that has so many different ramifications for the rest of the 49ers skill guys as far as fantasy goes. Like, yeah, I’m going to draft Deebo Samuel anyway because Deebo Samuel is one of those transcendent players. But I want some confidence in this quarterback. I want to know that, yes, anybody who plays quarterback can get him the ball. And we just don’t know who that quarterback will be.
SCOTT PIANOWSKI: Let’s remember, though, that they made it work with Purdy, who was Mr. Irrelevant, a seventh-round pick who was nobody’s idea of a prospect. No one knew who Brock Purdy was, actually, until two months ago. He was just a clipboard carrier. And then he goes on that– and it was good enough.
And it’s not like– even now I found myself won over by Purdy. But it’s not like I expect this guy to have a 12-year career and go to five Pro Bowls. I still don’t know how good Brock Purdy is.
So I think the system is almost quarterback-proof because Shanahan is so good and the skill– more importantly– not to overwhelm Shanahan, but you need players in the NFL. And the Niners just– it’s a luxury SUV that you sit in. You are sitting in the captain’s chair.