The San Francisco 49ers seem to be rolling again after a 34-3 beatdown of the formerly hot Jacksonville Jaguars, and once again it looks like perhaps Brock Purdy is the franchise quarterback they haven’t had since Steve Young in the late 1990s.
But there are still those who aren’t sold at all on Purdy and feel he is nothing more than a “system quarterback” or, even worse, a total fluke.
Back in 2021, the Niners gave up plenty of draft capital in order to obtain the No. 3 pick in the draft. They ended up using it on Trey Lance, who, for a variety of reasons, hasn’t developed or even gotten enough reps to become whatever he can become in the pros.
They reportedly had interest in drafting Mac Jones instead, but of course, Jones ended up with the New England Patriots. With Jones struggling and the Patriots suffering through a historically awful season, Jones has been benched, and his future in New England may be in doubt.
NFL News & Rumors: Mac Jones, New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers Updates
Bill Barnwell of ESPN wrote that if the team wants to trade him in the near future, the 49ers would be “an obvious landing spot.”
“The Patriots can’t head into 2024 with Jones as their unquestioned starter,” wrote Barnwell. “Unless he dramatically turns things around in the second half, they will have little choice but to decline Jones’ fifth-year option for 2025, leaving him in a make-or-break contract year next season. He would cost only $2.8 million in 2024 if the Pats wanted to keep him as a backup, and he would theoretically have trade value, with the 49ers as an obvious landing spot given [head coach] Kyle Shanahan’s reported interest before the Niners drafted Trey Lance.”
James Dudko of Heavy.com also pointed out how Jones could be a seamless fit in Shanahan’s offense given his experience in RPO offensive sets.
“Mobility has often been the key for quarterbacks operating the Shanahan offense,” Dudko wrote. “Moving pockets, rollout passes and RPOs are the foundations of the system.
“Jones hasn’t been known for his wheels in New England, but he does boast solid experience operating RPOs. He’s a noted fan of run-pass options from his days at Alabama.
“… Shanahan’s love of RPOs has helped Brock Purdy go from ‘Mr. Irrelevant‘ in the 2022 NFL draft to be one of the most efficient quarterbacks in football.”
Of course, this would raise the question of whether Jones would be a backup in San Francisco, as he may be moving forward for the Patriots, or if Shanahan may actually give him a shot at starting under center.
The Niners likely won’t know until after the conclusion of the playoffs whether Purdy is truly their man moving forward. He did well in last year’s postseason, but he suffered a torn UCL early in the NFC Championship Game, making his overall performance in three playoff games somewhat inconclusive. The one knock on him at this point seems to be that he’s unproven in pressure situations or while playing from behind, and he didn’t do well in such situations during Week 7 or Week 8.
It’s hard to imagine San Francisco giving up capital for someone such as Mac Jones, but a lot can change between now and March.