Brock Purdy after his loss in the NFC Championship Game.
Brock Purdy’s Cinderella story has finally come to an end. After a seven-game undefeated streak, Purdy wasn’t able to get home before midnight, and now he, and the San Francisco 49ers, will watch the games from the couch just like the rest of us. Purdy’s winning streak broke during the NFC Championship game: when the 49ers lost to the Philadelphia Eagles. The loss wasn’t necessarily Purdy’s fault, as he was sidelined earlier in the game after being tackled by Eagles edge rusher Haason Reddick––Purdy tearing his UCL in the impact. The 49ers then moved to their fourth-string QB, who was also taken out of the game due to a concussion. The game finished with a crushing 31-7 loss.
So where does Purdy make his next move? His recovery could last six months or more, and by that time, what will the 49ers think of him? Will he be seen as a true starting quarterback, or will he be seen as the guy who got lucky for a few games? What are Brock Purdy’s next steps?
The dilemma for the 49ers doesn’t lie in Purdy himself, but in their original starter, Trey Lance. We all know the story of how Lance was supposed to be their big new starter (he certainly has the price tag of a big-time quarterback) before he was taken out for the season with an ankle injury. The 49ers still hold on to veteran Jimmy Garoppolo as another backup option. One way to look at it is: who was winning games for the 49ers this season? Lance certainly wasn’t. Garoppolo did well, but Purdy was the one who carried them into the playoffs. He established himself as a hard worker and as a guy who could take the pressure. Lance, although it isn’t necessarily his fault, has shown none of that due to his injuries. Purdy definitely has a bit of a headstart over the rest of the quarterback room, so he should still have a chance in the 49ers’ quarterback spot.
But what if he doesn’t get it? There are still a lot of teams who don’t have the wealth of skilled quarterbacks that San Francisco happens to have. For example, the New York Jets could be an excellent landing place for Purdy. The Jets have an excellent defense, similar to the 49ers, ranked fifth best for yards allowed, as well as having the third-best passing defense. The offense, though, is in great need of a skilled QB like Purdy. Frequently, teams are said to be “a quarterback away” from being a contender. If there ever was an example of this, it was the Jets in 2022. Their offensive line has been solid, and most importantly, they have one of the most highly touted and underused receiver prospects in the league. Rookie Garret Wilson was drafted by the Jets to be a lights out receiver, and he has shown the ability to perform, but lacks a proper quarterback to give him the support. Purdy could fit the bill.
Another possible home for Purdy is on the Las Vegas Raiders, who are likely to lose their long-time QB Derek Carr. The Raiders are slightly less attractive to play for than the Jets, but they have an excellent receiver in Davante Adams. Purdy would surely love to have a skilled player like Adams down the field, and he would also get backfield support from Josh Jacobs, who was this season’s rushing leader.
While these are the more appealing options for Purdy, many other teams are in dire need of a QB or could just use an upgrade. The Houston Texans and the Indianapolis Colts, which are both at the bottom of the league in most aspects, desperately need a quarterback, and Purdy could be an option. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are now a possibility, although they do have second round pick, Kyle Trask, in the backup spot. Teams such as the Miami Dolphins might even need a quarterback depending on their incumbent starter Tua Tagovailoa’s health.
While Mr. Irrelevant didn’t get the fairy tale ending this season, his story hasn’t reached its end. Purdy has proven himself as a talented and level-headed player, and that’s more than most teams could ask for now. No matter what he decides to do, the world seems bright for Brock Purdy. Hopefully, he finds the team that will give him his glass slipper.