49ers QB Brock Purdy is the biggest bargain in Super Bowl history (2024)

Words themselves can't do the fairy-tale start to Brock Purdy's NFL career justice. So, here's a number to noodle on if you're trying to quantify the young man's place among the all-time unicorns in the history of the NFL draft:


That's Purdy's percentage of the 49ers' salary cap. And, yes, he's a starting quarterback … on a Super Bowl team … one that's so darn good, it's favored by 2½ points to beat Patrick Mahomes and the defending champion Chiefs in Las Vegas in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday.

"On the one hand, it's weird to think I'll be watching Brock in the Super Bowl because it seems like he was just my teammate at Iowa State," said Aidan Bouman, son of former Vikings quarterback Todd Bouman and a record-setting prep QB in Buffalo, Minn., before going to Iowa State and then transferring to South Dakota.

"But," Bouman was quick to add, "on the other hand, it's not strange at all because I knew exactly what Brock was capable of and that he absolutely would succeed in the NFL if given the chance."

The 49ers gave him that in 2022. A year after whiffing on the blockbuster trade up to select Trey Lance of Marshall, Minn., third overall, the 49ers created the draft irony of all time by crowning Purdy "Mr. Irrelevant" as the 262nd and final pick.

The day will come when Purdy breaks the bank. For now, he's embarrassingly cap-friendly for a player of his immense talent. And that has allowed the 49ers the resources to assemble the league's best supporting cast while winning big and quietly slithering out of the Lance fiasco, sending him to Dallas for a fourth-rounder one year after trading three first-round picks and a third-rounder to get him.

Thanks to the folks at Spotrac, we can put Purdy's financially friendly 0.4% of the cap — a league low among starting quarterbacks — into its incredulous perspective. Here goes:

• Nick Mullens counted 0.8% against the Vikings' cap. Joshua Dobbs and Jaren Hall: 0.4% each. Purdy's average salary of $934,253 ranks 94th, according to Over the Cap. Hall's $1,029,818 ranks 81st.

• The Chiefs' No. 2 quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, counts 0.5%. Kansas City's No. 3 QB, Ian Book: 0.4%.

• Sam Darnold, the 49ers' No. 2 QB, counts 2.4%. Their No. 3 QB, Brandon Allen: 0.5%.

• Tennessee's Ryan Tannehill counted 15.9%, which ranks No. 1 on the reasons Mike Vrabel is unemployed.

• And … Lance counted 0.4% against the Cowboys' cap. And he didn't play a snap all season.

Among quarterbacks with at least 20 career starts, including postseason, the 24-year-old Purdy ranks No. 1 in winning percentage (.808, 21-5), passer rating (111.2), yards per attempt (9.2) and touchdown-to-interception differential (47-14). He ranked No. 1 this season in passer rating (113.0) and yards per attempt (9.6) and third in passing touchdowns (31).

49ers QB Brock Purdy is the biggest bargain in Super Bowl history (1)

49ers QB Brock Purdy is the biggest bargain in Super Bowl history (2)

Matt York, Associated Press

San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy, left, has an average salary of $934,253 this season. Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes' average salary? $45 million.

All of which begs the question: How in the world did Purdy go overlooked 261 times in the 2022 draft?

"The draft is always going to be a crapshoot," said former Vikings General Manager Jeff Diamond. "People fall in love with measurables or what have you. The prime example for me is always John Randle. When he came into the draft, he weighed 240 pounds out of Texas A&I. He doesn't get drafted, I give him a $5,000 signing bonus and he ends up in the Hall of Fame."

Purdy wears No. 13 because his father, Shawn, was a huge Dan Marino fan. Purdy, however, wasn't blessed with Marino's size, or his arm. So he spent a lot of time studying Drew Brees' feet as the key to excelling as a 6-footer in a league of giants.

Purdy stands 6 feet and ⅝ of an inch. Brees fell out of the first round in 2001 because was 6 feet and ¼. Purdy weighed 212. Brees was 213.

"There isn't anything Brock didn't work on," Bouman said. "He's the most humble guy I've ever met. He took me and the other freshmen under his wing. He did talk a lot about footwork and how it helped him control the pocket, find passing lanes and not drift out of the pocket."

Purdy was a winner at Perry High School in Gilbert, Ariz. He left Iowa State with 32 passing records and four straight winning seasons for a program that hadn't done that since the 1920s.

"I laugh when I hear people bash him," Bouman said.

Bash him?

"They say things like, 'System QB!', 'Game manager!', stuff like that," Bouman said. "First, I take 'game manager' as a compliment. Second, the Lions probably aren't calling him just a game manager" after Purdy's three critical second-half runs for 52 yards while overcoming a 17-point halftime deficit in the NFC title game.

Todd Bouman agrees with his son's take on Purdy.

"I get that we have a lot of dual-threat quarterbacks in the game today," he said. "But wouldn't Joe Montana be considered a game manager? Tom Brady? If that's what a game manager is, I'd take it."

Montana, the 49ers Hall of Famer and four-time Super Bowl winner, was asked about the label in an interview with ESPN's Pat McAfee.

"The thing I see [in Purdy] is something that I think I figured out early on in my career — what the offense is about," said Montana, who played for Kansas City later in his career. "It wasn't about me. It was about getting the ball to the people who knew what to do with it because I'm the mailman. This [ball] doesn't belong to me. I want to get it to somebody that knows how to run, knows how to catch."

Purdy also called the label a compliment this week because it means he's processing information quickly, taking care of the ball, delivering it accurately and not forcing big plays when they aren't there.

Come Sunday evening, when the talking ends, labels won't matter.

"I think it's ridiculous to label guys with all these terms," Diamond said. "The bottom line is, 'Is he any good?' Yes, Brock is very good."

Super Bowl prediction: Third title for Chiefs or redemption for 49ers? On Sunday in Las Vegas, Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and coach Andy Reid vie for their third championship in five years against the team they beat for the first one: the 49ers.
49ers QB Brock Purdy is the biggest bargain in Super Bowl history (2024)
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