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Brock Purdy ‘leader in the clubhouse’ for San Francisco 49ers starting QB job

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy just underwent surgery on the throwing elbow he injured during their NFC Championship Game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

It’s not yet known when Purdy will be able to return to action. Though, there’s a decent chance that he won’t be available for training camp and the preseason. Meanwhile, former No. 2 pick Trey Lance appears to be 100% recovered from the ankle injury he suffered early during the 2022 season.

Now that the Jimmy Garoppolo era has finally come to a conclusion in San Francisco, the 49ers’ quarterback situation takes center stage. That also now includes recently signed veteran Sam Darnold.

In talking to the media from the site of the NFL owners meeting in Arizona on Monday, 49ers general manager John Lynch seemed to break some news. He told reporters that the job would be Purdy’s if things were headed for a culmination today.

“I think Brock has earned the right with the way he played that’s he’s probably the leader in the clubhouse. If we were to line up, he’d probably take that first snap.”

San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch on QB situation

Lynch also made it perfectly clear that there’s a real competition at hand in Santa Clara. That includes the aforementioned Darnold.

Related: 2023 San Francisco 49ers mock draft

Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers QB situation

San Francisco 49ers, Brock Purdy
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A three-headed quarterback competition taking hold for a team that has earned two consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances certainly is interesting.

Though, it’s not too much of a surprise that Purdy would be given an early vote of confidence. What the youngster did as a rookie seventh-round pick last season was nothing short of extraordinary.

Once Purdy took over for an injured Garoppolo in December, Mr. Irrelevant did not look back. He led San Francisco to a 5-0 record in as many regular season starts before helping the team defeat both the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys prior to being injured early in the NFC Championship Game.

It’s now going to be all about when Purdy can continue throwing. He did not undergo a full reconstruction of the UCL in his throwing elbow. Said procedure, known as Tommy John Surgery, would have sidelined him for at least a calendar year. It’s now being noted that Purdy could return to throwing in three months with a potential late-summer return to the practice field.

The backdrop here is Lance’s presence on San Francisco’s roster. The 49ers yielded a whole heck of a lot to move up to the No. 2 pick for the small-school product back in 2021. The greenish quarterback has thrown all of 102 regular season passes in two years. There have been some reports out of Northern California that the 49ers don’t have confidence in Lance holding down the starting job right now.

Related: Ben Roethlisberger admits to nearly unretiring to join San Francisco 49ers in 2022

Of course, the San Francisco 49ers’ decision to sign Sam Darnold changes the dynamics some. At least initially, it seemed as if he was brought on to be the third stringer. Based on Lynch’s comments from Monday, Darnold will compete for the starting job.

The former No. 3 overall pick of the New York Jets back in 2018, Darnold signed a mere one-year, $4.5 million contract with San Francisco. The still-young 25-year-old quarterback played pretty well in limited action with the Carolina Panthers a season ago, throwing seven touchdowns against three interceptions in six starts.

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