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Kyle Shanahan, 49ers could target Matt Schaub as backup, bridge QB

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Considering the early stages of this rebuilding process, such a signing would not surprise me.

The San Francisco 49ers have decisions to make at quarterback, and could enter free agency with zero quarterbacks on the roster. Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, and Thad Lewis are all due to hit free agency. Colin Kaepernick is under contract for 2017, but is expected to opt out and become a free agent.

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter said it would be no surprise to see quarterback Matt Schaub potentially follow Shanahan to Santa Clara. On Sunday, he tweeted that sources told him Schaub “could” follow Shanahan. It is essentially a little more confirmation about his report earlier in the week.

Schaub currently serves as Matt Ryan’s backup. He entered the NFL as a third round pick of the Falcons back in 2004. After three seasons as a backup in Atlanta, he was traded to the Houston Texans for a pair of second round picks. He replaced David Carr as starter, a role he held for seven years.

He had some strong years with the Texans, but he could never put them over the top. They made two playoff appearances in 2011 and 2012, but then he was traded after the 2013 season. The Oakland Raiders acquired him for a sixth round pick, and he quickly fell behind Derek Carr on the depth chart. Fitting he replaced David Carr and then was beaten out for a job by Derek Carr.

After a year in Oakland, he spent 2015 as Joe Flacco’s backup in Baltimore. He returned to Atlanta this year to serve as Matt Ryan’s backup. Schaub’s last time in the starting lineup came last season after Flacco suffered a torn ACL. Schaub started two games, but a chest injury sidelined him the rest of the year. Prior to that, his last starting role was in 2013 with the Houston Texans.

The 49ers have a high draft pick and a lot of cap space, which opens the door for quite a few quarterback options. If they end up spending a pick on Mitch Trubisky or DeShaun Watson, it would make sense in 2017 to have a veteran bridge. Schaub is not a great option, but at this stage in the rebuilding process, I actually would have no problem with a retread buying some time for a rookie. If the 49ers were going to be competitive for a playoff spot, sure, you want a strong starting option, even as a bridge. But this team is not going to be good for at least two or three years depending on how this process goes. I am fine with a slow build.

They could also make a move for Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo, but if they don’t make a move for one of them, a Schaub addition to compete at QB for a bad 2017 team would not surprise me.