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Who will be the 49ers’ starting QB in 2023?

San Francisco will have an interesting quarterback decision to make in the offseason.

San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are set to open the NFC Wild Card round this afternoon when hosting the Seattle Seahawks at 4:30 p.m. ET. The NFC West champions managed to earn the No. 2 seed with a 13-4 record and did so despite experiencing a very bizarre quarterback situation this season.

Former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance entered the year with tons of hope and promise, only to suffer a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. Left-for-dead veteran Jimmy Garoppolo held down the fort until Week 13, where he suffered a broken foot against the Dolphins. Enter Brock Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft who was unfazed down the stretch and went a perfect 5-0 as the starter to close the season.

Regardless of how this playoff run for the Niners ends, the organization will have some interesting decision to make in the offseason over who will be the starting quarterback in the future. We’ll go over some of their options and the likelihood of it coming to fruition.

Brock Purdy

Let’s start with the rookie sensation, who in just a little over a month has become the most notable ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ in NFL history. The Iowa State product has been up to the task late in the season and through nine appearances, he has completed 67.1% of his passes for 1,374 yards, 13 touchdowns, and four interceptions this year. Whether its Kyle Shanahan’s scheme doing the work or him turning out to be a hidden gem from last year’s draft, nothing about Purdy’s current run has felt like a total fluke. That’s why the idea of him leading San Fran to a Super Bowl appearance doesn’t feel as much of a far fetched idea as it would have a month ago.

Likelihood of being Week 1 starting QB in 2023: Strong

Purdy has definitely earned himself a permanent spot on the 53-man roster with the run he’s had and he’ll at the very least get a shot at competing for the starting job in training camp. How he performs in the postseason, however, will determine the organization’s confidence in him.

If he’s still cruising and successfully marches San Francisco through the NFC bracket, the odds of the organization running with him as their guy increases. If opposing defenses figure him out and he gets exposed early, then he’ll really have to fight in the offseason to maintain the top job.

Trey Lance

As mentioned before, Lance unfortunately suffered a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2. The former No. 3 pick out of North Dakota State has only appeared in eight games through two seasons, meaning we still do not have enough of a sample size to project how good he can be as an NFL starter. Purdy’s quick rise in final weeks of the 2022 season has suddenly put Lance’s future as the franchise QB in some doubt.

Likelihood of being Week 1 starting QB in 2023: Strong

Similar to Purdy, Lance will enter training camp next season with a shot to lock down the starting job. There is an incentive for the organization to have Lance solidify his spot as the top guy considering the number of draft picks they traded to move up for him (one of those picks turned into Micah Parsons). Rain or shine, Lance will get his shot at the starting job.

Jimmy Garoppolo

Jimmy G was the full-time starter in San Francisco from 2019-2021 and while the veteran did help lead the team to a Super Bowl appearance, his above average play as a starter left more to be desired. It was thought that Garoppolo would be traded last offseason but after no teams took the bait, the Niners brought him back for one more year. That move came in handy when Lance went down, but Purdy’s subsequent rise proved once again that the organization can keep things rolling without the veteran QB.

Likelihood of being Week 1 starting QB in 2023: No chance

The Garropolo era in San Francisco is over after the playoff run concludes. He is a free agent this offseason and the organization will not bring him back.

Tom Brady

A guy we haven’t mentioned is Tom Brady, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason. The seven-time Super Bowl champion grew up as a 49ers fan in nearby San Mateo, CA, and it’s always been speculated that the quarterback legend would want to end his career playing for his hometown team.

Likelihood of being Week 1 starting QB in 2023: Unlikely

This is the part where we mention that Tom Brady will be 46 years old next season and finally showed signs of his age and regression with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year. A 49ers-Brady connection would be a nice pairing if this were a Hollywood movie, but the organization is better served sticking with two QB’s who are half of Brady’s age in Lance and Purdy.