PHOENIX – On Tuesday, celebrate the final day of the NFL’s annual meetings at the Arizona Biltmore Resort. NFC coaches, including 49ers player Kyle Shanahan, addressed the media at breakfast. Later in the morning, 49ers CEO Jed York answered questions from local reporters.
General Manager John Lynch actually spoke on Monday. Between all three sessions with the 49ers Copper, we got an updated look at the team’s approach as it heads into the NFL Draft season – where the 90-man roster will be filled out before the offseason program begins.
Here are seven things we learned about the 49ers in league meetings.
The third quarterback rule proposal has been submitted until at least May
League owners voted on proposed decisions on Tuesday. They introduced a potential re-implementation of the third quarterback rule, which has not existed since the ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement in 2011.
Lynch said Monday that he felt there was good momentum in favor of reintroducing a rule that might allow additional gameday roster room for a QB in the event of an injury emergency — like one the 49ers faced in the NFC Championship game in January when they sustained injuries. Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson left them helpless in the job.
the 49ers’ real QB ideas; Giants continuity Farhan Zaidi and more quick ideas
But Competition Commission Chairman Rich McKay He said that there was debate as to whether the prospective third quarterback would be part of the active roster or training squad (there is a huge salary disparity between the two) and the suggestion – made by the Lions – was mooted, although it It can still be voted on in May at the spring meetings of the university.
Of course, the 49ers currently field three quarterbacks — Purdy, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold — and it’s fair to wonder how they’ll manage the 2023 roster depending on whether or not the third quarterback rule is introduced.
A definitive answer can’t come until there’s more clarity about both the proposal and Purdy’s return from elbow surgery, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see the 49ers — with the nightmare of Philadelphia in their memory — carry three quarterbacks back into the active position. List next season if the base is not returned in some capacity.
The 2022 campaign began with Purdy, Lance, and Jimmy Garoppolo on the 53-man roster — ending up with a necessary conversion from the 2 QB setup previously used by Shanahan.
It’s about the power of the option in the QB room
The 49ers are clearly focused on building as much option strength as possible in this position.
“I’ve said that a few times with my quarterbacks: Alex (Smith) and (Colin) Kaepernick; Jimmy and Trey Yorke said Tuesday. “I hope we can go back in time and have Steve Bono behind two Hall of Famers.”
Shanahan carried a similar stamp in his response to a question about how he views the 49ers’ QB room in terms of assets he might be willing to trade away.
“I feel like we have a very good positioning in the middle,” Shanahan said. “We went and made a guy (Lance) that we really wanted. And we don’t feel any different about him now than we did three years ago when we took him on. Too bad he couldn’t play. He was going to play this year and I think people are going to be very impressed with him, and so are we. But Unfortunately he was injured.
“Now, we’re sitting here and that’s opened up opportunities. We’ve got another guy (Purdie) who can play really well. We brought in Sam Darnold, who can play. I hope those three are all fans. I don’t want to lose any of them, but we’ll listen to anything.” We’ll listen if someone wants to trade for John Lynch, and if someone wants to trade for me, I’m sure John Lynch will listen. We’ll listen for anything. But our goal is always to see how we can make the team good. And we feel like we have a good position. Very in the middle at the moment. Not only do we have three guys who are very capable of being starters, but we also have three guys who allow us to build a very good roster.”
Lance isn’t completely out of reach, even if Purdy is driving
The 49ers simply aren’t sure when Purdy will be able to return from a torn UCL, and don’t expect to have a more stable prognosis until early June — or 12 weeks after quarterback surgery.
“We’ll see in three months if he’s going to be ready for camp or not,” Shanahan said. “Or if it’s going to be a little slower, it could be week 1. I hear at the latest week 4, but those are all estimates and we’ll see what happens.”
GM: Purdy is the “boss” to be the QB1 49ers when he’s healthy
Shanahan’s comments suggest Lance will have the opportunity to re-establish his place in the quarterback selection pecking order, with the uncertainty surrounding Birdie clearly playing a role.
“Tree’s position was this (starting) as the year went on,” Shanahan said. “We were really excited about that and we think he was going to have a hell of a year. He only got in a game and a quarter and then he was out. … Brock played eight games and won them all and played at a very high level. We think Trey could be that. I think he was He would have done it last year if he stayed healthy. The good thing for him is that Brock got hurt and stuff, he has a chance to try and get that back.”
Darnold also should not be left out
Significantly, Shanahan said he expects Lance to share first-team coaching delegates with Darnold this off-season. Details of Darnold’s contract — $7 million in incentives based on playing time could make his value as high as $11.5 million — suggest he has a legitimate opportunity to make waves, and Shanahan’s assessment of the 49ers’ newest QB only reinforced that notion.
“Sam has a skill set that’s as good as it gets,” said Shanahan. That’s why he went as the third pick in the draft. When you study his play, you can see it too. I don’t think he was always in the best of positions.
“He’s always had the ability since his freshman year of college when we first started watching him. There’s no reason he couldn’t do that. I’ve always loved him as an athlete and as a prospect. I love how he throws. I love his athleticism. Now we’re excited to get him with us, get him to work and see how It fits our insult.”
The QB’s cost-effectiveness is a key foundation for other 49ers moves
With all this talk about quarterbacks — dominating most conversations about the 49ers at these meetings — it’s essential to keep the big picture in focus: The team is only paying $14.1 million on the 2023 salary cap for the trio of Lance, Purdy and Darnold.
The 49ers are all too willing to admit that he’s the key behind their biggest hit of the season, signing Javon Hargrave to a defenseman’s contract worth up to $84 million — which came on the heels of several other big expenses.
“It’s everything,” Shanahan said. “A couple of years ago, we recognized some of the players we’d recruited, guys like Fred (Warner), guys like (George) Keitel, guys like Depo (Samuel), guys like (Nick) Bossa, (Dre) Greenlaw – we knew all those guys were They’ll come in. You can’t keep all those guys if you don’t have a rookie quarterback. So we saw where that was going. We made the decision to go up to the rookie quarterback a few years ago, and that was Trey. And that allowed us to sign all of those persons.”
Yorke said: “We wanted to be able to get a young player midfielder on a rookie contract that allows you to be able to say, well, Javon bonus. There’s a delta between what you spend on a quarterback versus what everyone else spends on a quarterback. I hope that One of those guys gets a massive stretch with the San Francisco 49ers at some point. But until then, we’re going to make sure we build this thing around a young quarterback with a very friendly connection to the team.”
Shanahan reinforced this point when a reporter asked him if the 49ers would be interested in trading for Lamar Jackson to the Ravens.
“We’ve got three quarterbacks that we’re really good with right now and we’re very excited to get a better salary cap,” said Shanahan.
The 49ers think they are in a position to hurry and get engaged again
Yorke spoke about the 49ers’ October 2022 deal for star running back Christian McCaffrey and suggested that the team, thanks to the way the capital draft has been revamped, will be able to make another splash if needed in 2023.
“There will always be someone available at some point in the season,” Yorke said. He might not be the exact guy you were looking for. I don’t know we were looking for a running back, but when that opportunity arose last year, we had some ammunition and thought, ‘Okay, let’s go for it.'”
“When you know the Rams are in it, well we compete with these guys first and foremost for the division, we played them the year before in the NFC Championship Game. I’d rather have a great player than have a great player. You have to be ready to be able to make these decisions.”
The 49ers sent four picks—second, third, fourth, and fifth—to Carolina in exchange for McCaffrey. But they’ve reloaded them with four compensatory picks from players leaving in free agency — the maximum allowed under the rule — and again align the compensatory formula with four more picks expected to come in 2024.
“When you have an extra third-round pick, when you have a few more fourth-round extra picks, it makes it very easy to make those kinds of trades,” said Yorke.
The Super Bowl may return to Levi’s Stadium
The next NFL owners will meet May 22-24 at the Spring League meeting. They will vote on the location of Super Bowl LX, which is scheduled for February 2026. York believes the event may return to Levi’s Stadium, which hosted Super Bowl 50 in February 2016.
“My optimism is very high,” he said. “I feel fairly confident. I don’t know for sure that we’re going to get Super Bowl LX, but I do feel like we’re going to get a Super Bowl in the near future. It looks like Super Bowl 50 wasn’t that long ago.”
The stadium will be the site of a number of matches in the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by the United States, Canada and Mexico in the summer of that year.
“These are two of the biggest sporting events in the world,” Yorke said of the FIFA World Cup and World Cup. “Having a back in the back would be great.”
The 49ers plan to borrow from the NFL Fund for stadium upgrades
(Top photo of Brooke Purdy and Kyle Shanahan: Tony Avelar/Associated Press)