When the 49ers have average quarterback play, there is speculation about the future of the position. When the 49ers have historic quarterback play, there is...still talk about the future of the position?
From @NFLGameDay: After it's all over, the #49ers will have decisions to make on their QB(s) for 2023. Is it Brock Purdy, a free agent such as Tom Brady or something in between? pic.twitter.com/BQVwze4wMI— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) January 14, 2023
Rapoport, and others, reported over the weekend that there’s a possibility of Tom Brady joining the 49ers next season.
I think at this point, it’s fair to ask: Why would the Niners want Tom Brady or any other quarterback that might be available this offseason?
The truth of the matter is that Brock Purdy was more productive in his six regular season starts at the end of the year than Tom Brady has had at any point this season. Is that a small sample size? Of course, but 14 touchdowns and two interceptions are pretty damn good. Are we sure Brady would be able to do any better than that?
Not to mention money. Tom Brady’s cap hit was just under $12 million this season. Purdy’s cap hit for 2023 is less than $900,000. Even if TB12 were to produce more than BP13, do we think Brady would produce enough to justify a salary 13 times more than Brock?
I do realize the irony in what I’m saying. The 49ers have made this mistake before. Brady wanted to join the team after the 2019 season, but the Niners decided against it, and Brady went to Tampa Bay and immediately won the Super Bowl while throwing 40 touchdown passes.
But it doesn't make the most sense when you consider the ages of the QBs involved, the contracts, and the state of the 49ers’ championship window. Brady turns 46 in August, while Brock just turned 23 last month.
We talked about their respective contracts earlier, but Purdy is a force multiplier in another respect. He’s the biggest bargain in the entire National Football League. Getting fantastic quarterback production out of the last pick in the draft is a leg up on every other team in the NFL.
With Purdy and Trey Lance, the 49ers have a QB tandem that makes around $11 million combined, which leaves more money available for everyone else on the roster. John Lynch is looking at a ton of free agents after the year and some big-name players that deserve new deals. Why make those negotiations harder by voluntarily shrinking the budget for a quarterback that might well be a downgrade in 2023?
We still don’t know for sure what Brock Purdy is going to be in the NFL, but the picture is at least starting to develop. He just threw for more yards in a playoff game than any 49ers quarterback not named Joe Montana. Even if he lays a massive egg in the Divisional Round, he’s at least earned the chance to compete for the starting job. If Brady comes here, he’s not doing it to win a quarterback competition.
While Tommy B. would have been nice to see in 2020 (or two decades earlier), that ship has sailed. The only quarterbacks that should have a chance to start for this team next year are guys already on the roster.
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