The San Francisco 49ers have their quarterback of the future in place with Jimmy Garoppolo set to return from his torn ACL. There will be questions about how he recovers from the injury, but beyond that, there is a question as to the team’s plan at the backup quarterback role.
C.J. Beathard got his opportunity, but he suffered a wrist and thumb injury that resulted in Nick Mullens moving into the starting lineup. Beathard had struggled during his second starting stint, and Mullens took full advantage of his opportunity. It did not take long for Mullens to assert himself and stake a claim for the backup job behind Jimmy Garoppolo.
There has not been a ton of talk about what the 49ers have planned at the position, but ESPN’s Mike Sando weighed in with an idea. In ESPN’s offseason preview, a question was proposed to “Design a realistic offseason trade that helps both teams.” Sando suggested the 49ers deal Nick Mullens to the Denver Broncos for “a late-round pick.” Here’s what he had to say:
The 49ers would be banking on Jimmy Garoppolo and 2017 third-round choice C.J. Beathard being their top two quarterbacks. The Broncos would be getting a quarterback versed in the offensive system new coordinator Rich Scangarello is bringing from San Francisco. Denver could still draft a QB and bring back Case Keenum as the bridge. The Broncos own eight picks in the draft’s final four rounds. Why not spend one for Mullens?
Nick Mullens was a more productive quarterback than C.J. Beathard this past season, but what’s the value of the backup vs. a day three pick? If someone offered the 49ers a fourth round pick for Mullens, do they make the move thinking they can develop another quarterback, or do they stick with the guy who shined late in the season?
This is a tricky question. Mullens has some value right now, but teams might be hesitant thinking he’s more a product of Kyle Shanahan. On the other hand, even if he does not play much during the regular season, maybe we see some hype around him in the next couple years that artificially boosts his trade value. The 49ers have a big decision to make, and given Garoppolo is still coming back from his torn ACL, the backup position is that much more important.
Who will be the 49ers No. 2 quarterback Week 1 of the 2019 regular season?
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