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Why Scott Tolzien Could Be In Demand

Last season, Chargers quarterback Scott Tolzien put on a solid show late in the 49ers-Chargers preseason game, and it was enough to get him noticed by the 49ers. The Chargers released Tolzien, likely in hopes of slipping him through to the practice squad, and the 49ers claimed him for their roster. He was inactive all season, getting few reps behind Alex Smith and Colin Kaepernick, but he was a developmental project for down the road.

The 49ers could be in a tough situation if they are remotely interested in retaining Tolzien for the long-term. A solid preseason would keep him on teams' radars, but now his old team could be paying particularly close attention. According to Chargers beat writer Scott Bair, backup QB Kyle Boller retired, leaving the team with Charlie Whitehurst and UDFA Jarrett Lee as the only backups behind Philip Rivers. Whitehurst suffered an MCL strain and is out a few weeks, leaving the Chargers with two quarterbacks.

Given that Whitehurst will likely be back in time for the regular season, the Chargers might decide their fine at the QB position. However, if they decide Lee isn't a great third string option, they might be quick to pounce if the 49ers try to move Tolzien to their practice squad. It is possible the 49ers decide to keep four quarterbacks, but that seems a little much considering the team is hoping for Colin Kaepernick to potentially develop into a long-term option.

Where it gets interesting is if Tolzien puts together a solid early preseason. If he has a couple solid performances the first two weeks of the preseason, maybe the 49ers offer him back to the Chargers for a little something. Of course, the Chargers would have some leverage if they figured the 49ers would eventually have to cut Tolzien. And the Chargers could also up their offer to former backup Billy Volek.

It's a lot of discussion for a QB that may not see the field all season, but it could make for something to pay attention to early in the exhibition season.