We have a winner to the San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback battle that went through the offseason and training camp: Nick Mullens. Per Matt Maiocco, Kyle Shanahan has said that both Mullens and C.J. Beathard were informed of the decision Friday.
This puts an end to the 49ers backup quarterback battle. Behind Jimmy Garoppolo will be Mullens as the second quarterback followed by Beathard at third. This will mean that Beathard will most likely not be activated on game day as the 49ers tend to suit two quarterbacks and then use someone else (like Kyle Juszczyk) as the third in emergencies.
John Lynch said an announcement would be made on Monday but that neither quarterback was informed of the decision. Given what has been reported now, it sounds like someone’s weekend was ruined, as Shanahan said he informed the quarterbacks on Friday after all.
Nick Mullens began on the practice squad as an undrafted free agent. When Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 3 of the 2018 season, Mullens was promoted to the active roster and backed up C.J. Beathard. After a hand injury kept Beathard out of a Thursday night game against the Oakland Raiders, Mullens came in and posted one of the best debuts to a quarterback in recent memory.
Shanahan never returned to Beathard for the remainder of the season.
So now Beathard, who was taken with a third round pick, slides down the depth chart. At the time of his drafting, he was labeled a career backup, but fans wondered if he might turn into a franchise quarterback. While Beathard had his moments he took a large amount of sacks and had difficulty making reads. This isn’t the end of Beathard as the 49ers plan on keeping both quarterbacks, but he’s definitely been 1-upped by an undrafted free agent.
The competition has ended. Nick Mullens is the 49ers’ backup for 2019 and Jimmy Garoppolo is their starter. Hopefully any changes are due to practice performances from the backups and not injuries to the starter this time around.