We’re still a long ways away from the San Francisco 49ers’ 2018 season ending, but there’s a chance things could shake up for 2019 if Nick Mullens continues playing lights out.
We’ve stressed her that it’s just one game. And a game against the Oakland Raiders. Who have one of the worst defenses in the league. Still, the numbers Nick Mullens put up for his first NFL start are impressive, no matter who he’s playing. He still has several games to play to prove his stuff, but it was a great first start.
That of course leads us to C.J. Beathard. Kyle Shanahan has been high on Beathard. I’ve written that while he wasn’t the best quarterback, he may have been the best to run Shanahan’s offense. I might have been very wrong with that statement. Even with the 49ers making the decision to go with Mullens, at least for one more game, Shanahan has had praise for his other quarterback:
“I feel the same about C.J. now as I always have. I get that we’d love better results and love for his record to be better. C.J. did some really good things that are very encouraging to show his ability, that he can play in this league. Then he had some games where he wasn’t as good. I don’t put that all on C.J. I put it on our entire team. There are things he could have done better, but I believe C.J. has the ability to play in this league and I think he has shown that. I think it’s very hard in this league when you get a record like that, when you have turnovers and stuff. That’s what’s so hard about our profession that people are going to come down on you extremely hard and they’re going to look to the quarterback.”
If Mullens’ play continues onwards, the 49ers will have some decisions to make regarding the quarterback position. I doubt any of them will involve Jimmy Garoppolo directly—he’s in there for the long haul. The backup position though will be a question mark. Do the 49ers put Mullens as No. 2 and release Beathard? Or if Mullens plays well do the 49ers try and shop him and that team-friendly, UDFA contract?
Unless if Mullens were to severely regress, I’d bet the 49ers would put him at the No. 2 spot behind Garoppolo and then try to shop Beathard for a late pick or release him. From there, Shanahan may bring in another UDFA to take the third string QB and be on the practice squad. If Mullens were to play lights out and be in a sweepstakes-type role for 2019 trades, I still don’t know if the 49ers would keep Beathard around. Not for his play, but for the fact they’ve moved on from him for other quarterbacks two years straight. First it was for Garoppolo in 2017, then in 2018 they went with Mullens. While Shanahan can praise Beathard all he wants, benching quarterbacks is very dangerous and can oftentimes hurt relationships. While Beathard understood the Garoppolo promotion last year, getting bumped by the third stringer may cause resentment. There’s no evidence or hints of any of this happening—it’s all speculation, but it’s something to keep in mind.
What do you think the 49ers quarterback situation will be into 2019?