Brock Purdy bouncing back doesn’t mean the San Francisco 49ers will stick with the second-year quarterback in 2024.
ESPN’s Bill Barnwell floated the possibility that the 49ers could trade for New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones next year. Barnwell called the 49ers “an obvious landing spot given Kyle Shanahan’s reported interest before the Niners drafted Trey Lance in 2021.
San Francisco moved up to nab Lance with the third pick while Jones fell to No. 15 with the Patriots. Both careers haven’t turned out as planned but under vastly different circumstances.
Mac Jones with a brutal redzone pick 😅
His 10th INT on the year
— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) November 12, 2023
Lance didn’t live up to the pre-draft hype and hardly started in San Francisco before a trade to the Dallas Cowboys. Jones soared as a rookie in New England, but he since regressed with a now-struggling Patriots franchise.
With Jones heading to the bench for a second time this year, Barnwell noted the Patriots “would theoretically have trade value” for Jones in 2024. That’s if the Patriots move a different direction, which looks more probable amid the team’s 2-8 start and head coach Bill Belichick‘s lack of commitment to Jones as the current starter.
The Rest of the 2023 Seasons Determines How Brock Purdy, Mac Jones Will Stand for 2024
How acquiring Jones would impact Purdy remains the question. Purdy started off hot for his career, but a recent three-game losing streak cooled expectations. The rest of Purdy’s 2023 season could determine if the 49ers would pursue Jones and how the former Alabama star would fit in.
Conversely, the rest of Jones’ season will impact his trade value in 2024. His numbers leave much to be desired at the moment with 2,031 yards passing for 10 touchdowns versus 10 interceptions.
For now, Purdy looks back on track and firmly cemented as the starter after his latest performance in a 34-3 beatdown of the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 10. Purdy completed 73.1% of his passes for 296 yards and three touchdowns, and he earned a season-best rating of 148.9 on Sunday, November 12.
A Controversy Between Mac Jones and Brock Purdy Already Lingers
If Jones still comes to the 49ers via a trade, it could rekindle a quarterback controversy between him and Jones that stewed in October. ESPN NFL analyst and former quarterback Dan Orlovsky claimed “if Mac Jones was in San Francisco, he would be playing like Brock Purdy” during “Get Up” on October 9.
"If Mac Jones was in San Francisco, he would be playing like Brock Purdy."
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) October 9, 2023
Orlovsky took heat from 49ers tight end George Kittle regarding that comment. Kittle called it “disrespectful to Brock Purdy” during the October 10 “Murph and Mac” show on KNBR.
Two days later, Orlovksy clarified his position during the KNBR show. Orlovsky emphasized that Purdy’s “a really good player” and meant it as “support of Mac Jones” versus doubt in Purdy. In addition, Orlovsky expressed doubt that Jones would match Purdy’s performance.
“Do I think that Mac Jones would have nine touchdowns, no interceptions, and obviously ranking high or number one in almost every category? I don’t know if I’m there saying that,” Orlovsky said. “I think that’s silly and reckless to say, but I do think Mac would be playing really good.”
“I think there’s probably, I don’t know, eight quarterbacks that would be playing at a pretty good level in San Francisco right now. I don’t know if they’d be operating exactly the way that Brock is, so it was never meant to be like a shot at Brock Purdy,” Orlovsky added. “I’m a huge fan of his, always have [been]. I’m the person who said he’s changed Kyle Shanahan.”
“So it was more to try and support Mac Jones and have his back in relation to the type of player I think he can be, rather than, in any way, minimize what Brock has done,” Orlovsky concluded.
If Jones comes in 2024, he and Purdy could have a real competition.