49ers' QB ladder: With Brock Purdy showing out after humbling Tom Brady, where does that leave Jimmy Garoppolo?

Jimmy Garoppolo (L) and Brock Purdy (R)
Jimmy Garoppolo, left, and Brock Purdy

When Jimmy Garoppolo went down injured against the Miami Dolphins to be replaced by Brock Purdy, the San Francisco 49ers would have feared the worst. However, having won that game and the next two with Purdy leading the way, they have now qualified for the playoffs as the NFC West champions. Now, the 49ers faithful have a different conundrum to resolve.

Trey Lance was supposed to be their starting quarterback this year, and he began the season accordingly on the depth chart. Taken as the third pick of the 2021 NFL draft, he was widely seen to be the 49ers' future. His injury allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to take the reins again after being the starting quarterback for the past few seasons. This season, he looked set to lead them on a Super Bowl run again.

Further complicating matters now is that it is Brock Purdy with a 100 percent winning record. In the process, he became the first quarterback since Aaron Rodgers to post a 115+ quarterback rating in two consecutive games starting as a rookie.

So, where does the 49ers' quarterback ladder stand now? We look at various scenarios to see where we end up.

Irrespective of Brock Purdy's success, it looks to be the end of the road for Jimmy Garoppolo with the San Francisco 49ers

With three quarterbacks staking claim to the starting spot in the San Francisco 49ers, something has to give. The first casualty would probably be Jimmy Garoppolo. It must be remembered that one of the reasons the 49ers drafted a quarterback with the last pick of this year's NFL draft is because they did not expect Garoppolo to be here.

A variety of circumstances led to Garoppolo remaining with the 49ers.

Garoppolo first had surgery in the offseason on his throwing shoulder. That reduced his trade potential. Otherwise, there is every likelihood that he would not be playing here today. As it turns out, he did and may have enhanced his credibility in that period, both for his performances and professionalism. Going into next season, there is every chance that Garoppolo will be traded to another team.

One of the reasons they can now afford to move on is that Brock Purdy has shown himself to be at least a qualified backup. A few more successful games and a deep playoff run could mean that he could even become a permanent starter.

If that happens, then the 49ers would have to decide what to do with Trey Lance. Someone picked up so highly in the draft might not be happy sitting as a backup quarterback to anyone.

There is also the added complication that rumors are swirling that Tom Brady may be on the move again after this season. As a hometown boy, Tom Brady would love nothing more than to play for the 49ers.

The last time they had the opportunity, they turned him down because Jimmy Garoppolo had just taken them to the Super Bowl and they wanted to stick with him. As it happened, Brady won the Lombardi Trophy next season with the Buccaneers. So, if that chance comes, would they turn him down again?

The most likely scenario could be something like this. The San Francisco 49ers could trade Jimmy Garoppolo to any team that wants him. If the 49ers do not win the Super Bowl, they could take Tom Brady out of free agency. With the GOAT in place and a feared defense, they will be immediate contenders.

That would also allow Brock Purdy to learn from the best and build on this season to follow in Brady's footsteps instead of being a one-season wonder. Purdy could become Patrick Mahomes to Brady's Alex Smith, when despite having a great preseason, the Kansas City Chiefs held Mahomes back to gain experience.

They could also get draft capital by trading Trey Lance to a quarterback-needy team like the Buccaneers if Brady moves. That would allow them to build their roster even stronger.

Quick Links

App download animated image Get the free App now