The San Francisco 49ers will give Jimmy Garoppolo the starting job sooner or later. I don’t know if it will be against the Seattle Seahawks after the team’s bye week or in Week 17, but they have to see the man play before they can think about signing him to a contract extension.
Rookie third-round pick C.J. Beathard has played decent football for a bad team, and had his best game yet against another bad team, the New York Giants, on Sunday. I feel bad talking about Garoppolo as though Beathard is an afterthought, but that’s kind of what he was for me until he got so much playing time.
Beathard might want to be a starter in the NFL and if some other team can give him that opportunity after Garoppolo takes over, I’d be more than happy to let him try and pursue that. But if that doesn’t happen, I’ve come to realize that Beathard has one thing going for him in a big way: he looks like an obvious choice to be San Francisco’s long-term backup solution.
Typically, you want a backup to be a veteran player who is generally dependable, won’t ruin games for you and is resilient. Beathard is accruing plenty of experience, enough to make me comfortable, at least, and hasn’t done anything egregiously bad (let’s not talk about Sunday’s screen pass interception, OK?).
Most importantly, Beathard has taken an absolute beating at the hands of most of the teams he’s faced this season. He’s been bruised and battered, but never broken. He’s shown resiliency in spades, and has played well enough under pressure that I believe he can develop into a more consistent player.
I don’t know what Beathard hopes his career will be, but if being a high-end backup is something he’s fine with, I hope this trajectory continues and the 49ers keep him around.