We’re going to look at each positions departures prior to Week 1 of the 2017 season and see how they fared after leaving the San Francisco 49ers. Some players went on to better careers, while others may be out of the league. We won’t be highlighting every transaction, just some notable ones. Today, we look at the quarterbacks.
Boy it is nice that the San Francisco 49ers don’t have a quarterback problem. In a few years, that may be one of the stronger rooms in the NFL with Jimmy Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard. Until that fateful day in October, however, this wasn’t the case. The 49ers had started alternating between Blaine Gabbert and then-anointed quarterback of the future Colin Kaepernick. The latter was benched due to poor play in 2015, allowing Gabbert to get a small grip of the QB position going into 2016. Kaepernick would later reclaim the starting spot following a surgery and recovery, but the 49ers would still have issues due to the rest of the roster.
Here’s a list of the more notable departures. Note that with some exceptions, camp bodies, training camp transactions, and roster cuts during the season are not listed for the most part. At the conclusion of the 2016 season, the 49ers roster was purged and the team went into free agency without a single quarterback on the roster.
Kaepernick came in during Week 6 against the Buffalo Bills and finished the season with a 59.2 percent completion percentage, 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns to four interceptions. He also stirred up controversy by kneeling during the National Anthem at the start of the season.
At season’s end, Kaepernick exercised an option of his restructured contract and opted out, making him a free agent. Speculation was due to him being released if he did not go through with the decision. He has not been added to an NFL roster since.
Gabbert had a very good Week 1 under Chip Kelly, but things turned nasty in a hurry and Gabbert hit the bench for Kaepernick in Week 6. Prior to the 49ers, Gabbert also had productivity issues during his time with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the team that drafted him.
In 2017, Gabbert went to the Arizona Cardinals, beginning as the third string on the depth chart, but becoming the starter in Week 11 after Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton went down to injury. He finally went back to the bench prior to Week 16 when he failed to throw a touchdown pass for two games back to back.
Keep in mind, before the benching, some entertained the thought he could be the future of the Cardinals.
If you haven’t figured it out, the 2016 San Francisco 49ers were the isle of misfit quarterbacks from the 2011 draft. Gabbert, Kaepernick and now Christian Ponder were all a part of the roster.
Ponder came to the 49ers for training camp, leaving his wife shorthanded to paint the house. He had a nice preseason game but remained a solid 3rd on the depth chart throughout 2016. There was some speculation that the team wanted Ponder to get the starting nod but nothing came of it once Kaepernick took hold of the job. Ponder did, however wrench the backup job from Gabbert. At the end of the season, Ponder’s contract was not renewed in the massive purge of 49ers quarterbacks following the 2016 season. He has not been signed to a team since.
We don’t know if he ever painted the house though.
Are there any quarterbacks you wish were kept on the roster?