NFC Notes: 49ers, J.J. Watt, Cardinals, Rams


49ers seventh-round QB Brock Purdy is impressing a lot of people around the NFL with the fast start to his NFL career and the way he’s kept San Francisco afloat. One evaluator for another team even thought Purdy could compel the 49ers to trade away 2021 first-round QB Trey Lance, who has been viewed as the future of the position. 

“I liked him some coming out of college,” the evaluator said via Jason La Canfora of the Washington Post. “What I liked most was the way he throws with anticipation. He’s a perfect fit with [coach Kyle] Shanahan. He fell into the perfect situation. But he’s smart, he throws with anticipation, he knows where to put the ball and he makes strong reads. And he’s a winner. The kid wins games. Hell, he was a winner at Iowa State.” 


Cardinals veteran DL J.J. Watt surprisingly announced that he will retire from the NFL at the end of the season. Watt seems very much at peace with the decision to call it career. 

“I put so much into the game,” Watt said, via Josh Weinfuss of ESPN. “The wins, the losses, the mental stress and passion that comes with it. It just weighs on you. It’s heavy. I mean, it’s really heavy. Losses are very tough to take. You live with the highs and the lows. And I’ve always said that I would way rather live with the highs and the lows than never know the middle.”

Watt admitted that it will be disappointing to retire without a Super Bowl ring.

That’s definitely something that I’ve wrestled with in trying to put perspective on my career because there’s certainly a huge part of me that is always going to be sad, disappointed and frustrated that I could never get a championship,” Watt said. “That was heavy on me for a very long time.”

As for what’s next, Watt made it seem like he’s wide open. 

“I’m young,” Watt said. “I don’t want that to get lost. I’m 33 years old. I feel like I’m young. I have a whole life in front of me, and I feel great. My body feels great. I’m really just looking forward to the future, whatever that may be.


  • The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue writes no one connected to the team was seriously concerned about QB Matthew Stafford retiring this offseason, though the questions are fair given how serious spine injuries can be. 
  • She adds the Rams would be open to keeping QB Baker Mayfield as a backup but expect him to pursue starting opportunities elsewhere this offseason, which should help them collect a compensatory pick. 
  • Despite the barrage of injuries that hit the Rams this season on the offensive line, Rodrigue believes the Rams are actually in decent shape going forward, as players like OT Alaric Jackson and C Coleman Shelton have shown starter-level potential in Los Angeles’ view. 
  • Rodrigue expects the Rams to bring back OT Joseph Noteboom but move him inside to guard, as they can’t cut him and likely won’t have much of a trade market. However, veteran C Brian Allen is a candidate to be a June 1 cut. 
  • Rams RB Cam Akers has cemented himself as a starter going into 2023, but since it’s the last year of his rookie deal Rodrigue notes the Rams will probably draft another back. 
  • Interestingly enough, Rodrigue doesn’t sound certain about WR Allen Robinson being back in 2023 even though he just signed a three-year, $46.5 million deal this offseason. She says WRs Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson and Ben Skowronek will definitely be contributors, with the possibility of Odell Beckham Jr. coming back if he’s still unsigned in the spring. 
  • Rodrigue mentions the Rams will have to make a decision with K Matt Gay, who’s played well but is due to be a free agent this offseason. 

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