San Francisco has three quarterbacks — Brock Purdy, Trey Lance and Sam Darnold — on its roster, but 49ers general manager John Lynch said one has a slight edge over the others in the race to be the 2023 starter.
“I think Brock has earned the right with the way he played that he’s probably the leader in the clubhouse at that,” Lynch said Monday at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix. “If we were to line up, he’d probably take that first snap.”
Purdy had surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right arm earlier this month.
Purdy, 23, made a stunning rise from being the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft to leading the 49ers into the NFC Championship Game.
After quarterbacks Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo were injured in the regular season, Purdy took over and led the team to wins in each of the final five games. Purdy and the 49ers then defeated the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs before falling to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC title game when the elbow injury occurred.
After fourth-stringer Josh Johnson went down with a concussion against Philadelphia, Purdy returned to action but was unable to throw the ball more than a few yards.
In the regular season, Purdy completed 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,374 yards with 13 scoring passes and four interceptions. In the playoffs, he had a 65.1 percent completion rate while throwing for 569 yards and three TDs with no interceptions.
Garoppolo signed with the Las Vegas Raiders in free agency. Lance, who entered the 2022 season as the starter, sustained a season-ending ankle injury in Week 2.