Any criticism of Brock Purdy looks plenty foolish now.
The rookie quarterback tore the UCL in his throwing elbow during the 49ers’ disastrous NFC title game loss to the Eagles on Sunday. The injury is expected to sideline him for six months. Purdy should be ready for the start of training camp, but he will not have much wiggle room. His injury throws yet another wrench into the Niners’ fascinating quarterback situation. And it could have a trickle-down effect on the Jets’ pursuit of a passer this offseason.
Aaron Rodgers. We will start with the obvious. It would be quite understandable if Niners coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch decide they are not going to let another Super Bowl-caliber roster ride on Purdy or Trey Lance, who is working his way back from a serious ankle injury. They have shown interest in Rodgers, a Northern California native who played at nearby Cal, before. They could do it again. And Rodgers may be more inclined to grease the skids for a trade to the Niners than the Jets (or any other suitor).
Derek Carr. He likely does not make as much trade sense for the Niners. Rodgers would be a short-term sprint option that leaves the door open for Lance or Purdy to be the long-term answer. Carr is a multi-year investment. But you would imagine he waives his no-trade clause for a return to the Bay Area and a chance to play for a serious contender. If so, that would be a tough blow for the Jets. Carr may be their best external option, all things considered.
Jimmy Garoppolo. Hey, stranger things have happened. The Niners have already held onto Garoppolo one more year than anyone expected. They cannot franchise tag him. But if his market is weaker than he had hoped, another one-year bridge contract could make sense for both sides. The good news for the Jets if they really want Garoppolo: He is more likely to cash in now — for whatever he can get — rather than delay things and risk another injury derailing him in 2023.
Tom Brady. This was always a pipe dream for the Jets. But you figure Brady is completely off the board if his childhood team has a greater sense of urgency at the position.