Brock Purdy on track to start at QB for 49ers Week 1

Brock Purdy #13, San Francisco 49ers
Brock Purdy #13, San Francisco 49ers / Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy appears to be "on track or a little bit ahead of schedule," in his recovery from elbow surgery, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

With another season comes more quarterback questions for the 49ers. Presumed starting QB Brock Purdy's recovery from the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) injury he sustained in the NFC Championship Game earlier this year continues to be a hot topic of conversation, as the sophomore's expected timeframe for recovery coincides with the start of the 2023 NFL regular season

Sportswriter, analyst, and self-proclaimed "NFL Insider" Ian Rapoport, of NFL Network and joined The Pat McAfee Show on Tuesday to discuss Purdy's rehabilitation progress from his March surgery. Purdy's injury was expected to keep him off the field for six to eight months, but according to head coach Kyle Shanahan, his quarterback will begin throwing the ball this week, which puts Purdy a week or so ahead of the original three-month mark in his rehab timeline:

Will Brock Purdy be the 49ers' starting QB Week 1?

When asked about the impact of Purdy accelerated schedule, Rapoport responded, "First of all, that would be really good news because that would mean he's basically either on track or a small bit ahead of schedule. That is all very good."

Rapoport added that Purdy now has the three months needed to hopefully "get to a point where he is regularly throwing without issue," and thus able to play in "late, late, late August" or "really early September."

Rapoport stated if Purdy can avoid any setbacks, a Week 1 start is a realistic expectation. However, he stated San Francisco should first consider Purdy's long-term health, adding, "The most important thing for the Niners is that someone who they believe to be a massive massive part of the future is fully healthy with no issue."

Read More: Brock Purdy needs to be 49ers starting QB, not Trey Lance

Rapoport took the opportunity to throw some shade at one of the 49ers' backup quarterbacks, stating, "If someone like Sam Darnold, or maybe, I guess, Trey Lance--if one of those guys starts a week or two, that's also fine." Rapoport's dislike for Lance is no secret, and the reporter has walked a very fine line between "analyst" and "insider" while stirring the trade speculation pot despite a lack of supporting evidence or reputable sources.

Trey Lance trade talk

The 49ers have not wavered from their position that Lance will remain a Niner, but the trade smoke continues to swirl, even after 49ers general managerJohn Lynch addressed the rumors directly. As the 2023 NFL Draft came and went with lots of talk but no action, Rapoport softened his stance a bit, instead shifting his focus to potential future scenarios for a trade of the former first-round pick.

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the 49ers are very unlikely to trade Trey Lance, since the quarterback is worth more to Shanahan and Lynch than he is to any other NFL team. What would a team be willing to give away in exchange for a high-upside, low-downside quarterback with a single victory to his name?

And after spending a king's ransom on the quarterback project, by trading Lance, Shanahan and Lynch would also give up much of their remaining draft credibility.

Aside from his unknown upside, a potential suitor would receive Lance at a fraction of his initial financial cost as well, which the 49ers have already paid him in the form of bonuses. Paying for an overdrafted Lance to play for another team for minimal compensation or salary cap savings, before the QB has shown whether he can sink or swim, just doesn't sound like a Shanahan move.

The 49ers' quarterback story is unlikely to end well, but the team has the duty to see it through. Still, Rapoport has August circled on this "Lance Trade" calendar, suggesting it's not a matter of “if,” but "when.” While Rapoport salivates over the prospect of Sam Darnold under center, Niner fans will look for Lance to show progress over the coming months.

However, there is one thing from Rapaport's interview about Purdy we can all agree is good news: "This is probably going about as well as they could have hoped after the surgery."

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