Why the 49ers can't sign Brock Purdy to a contract extension yet, explained

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy worked his way from third-string backup to Super Bowl starter, but he isn't eligible for a contract extension.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Dallas Cowboys v San Francisco 49ers / Lachlan Cunningham/GettyImages

Brock Purdy has led the San Francisco 49ers to a 17-4 record in 21 regular season games as the starting quarterback. In two seasons with Purdy at the helm, the 49ers have finished as the NFC's No. 1 seed and made consecutive NFC Championship Game appearances. Purdy's 4-1 postseason record is nearly spotless. Purdy suffered a torn UCL in his throwing elbow on the first drive of last season's NFC Championship Game, resulting in his lone postseason blemish.

During the 2023 NFL season, Purdy led the league in passer rating (113.0) while recording the third-most passing touchdowns (31) and the second-best completion percentage (69.4).

Purdy orchestrated comeback drives in playoff wins against the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions en route to a Super Bowl appearance. Yet, the quarterback's base salary of $934,252 ranks 54th among all NFL quarterbacks, per Over The Cap.

The San Francisco 49ers cannot give Brock Purdy a contract extension

Heading into Super Bowl LVIII against the Kansas City Chiefs, questions have risen about a contract extension for the Niners' franchise quarterback.

Purdy signed a four-year, $3.7 million contract after being selected with the last overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.

As the No. 262 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, Purdy is restricted to the contract extension rules outlined in the NFL's latest Collective Bargaining Agreement. Whether or not San Francisco wants to extend Purdy right now, they aren't able to since Purdy is only in the second year of his rookie contract. Under the current guidelines, drafted players cannot renegotiate or alter their rookie contracts until after the last regular season game of their third contracted season.

Purdy will be eligible for a contract extension after the 2024 NFL season, although the 49ers technically retain his rights through the 2025 NFL season.

Prior to the 2011 NFL Draft, rookies were able to make an excessive amount of money before even playing a snap. Quarterback Sam Bradford, the first pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, signed a six-year deal worth $78 million. It was the largest rookie contract in league history, and it led to the implementation of a rookie wage scale.

Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, all rookie contracts are four years, with teams reserving the right to exercise a fully guaranteed fifth-year option for first-round picks after the third year of the deal. Players earn a predetermined salary that is tied to draft position and the league's salary cap.

For many players, going undrafted can be better than being selected with a late pick in the seventh round of the NFL Draft. While seventh-round selections rarely ever make the final roster, undrafted free agents have the freedom to sign with a team that offers them the best opportunity to compete for a roster spot during training camp. Undrafted free agents also aren't restricted by contract extension eligibility conditions.

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