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Golden Nuggets: Beathard plans to “let it rip” and have fun

Your daily San Francisco 49ers links for Thursday, December 24, 2020

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San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are a couple of days away from a game, and C.J. Beathard will make his first start since 2018. Beathard mentioned that the team around him this time is much better. Let’s see how he plays and if there are any improvements with Beathard having a few practices under his belt as the starter.

C.J. Beathard excited for another shot as 49ers starting QB

“I’ve got nothing to lose at this point,” Beathard said Wednesday. “I’m going to go out and have some fun. This team has nothing to lose at this point. We’re not going to make the playoffs. We’ve really got nothing to lose. We’ve got to go out there and leave it all on the field and just have some fun with it. That’s kind of been our motto the last week is just go out there and have some fun. So, I’m excited for the opportunity.”

This start is also a showcase opportunity for Beathard, whose rookie contract expires after the season, making him eligible to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

“I’m not really thinking of those terms,” Beathard said. “We’ve got two games left here in the season. Obviously, our playoff hopes are dead now. I think it’s an opportunity to go out there and have some fun. ... Don’t think too much about the future because you never know what the future holds.”

49ers NFL draft hopeful Zach Wilson dominates in BYU’s bowl game win

The BYU quarterback completed 26 of his 34 pass attempts for a career-high 425 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed into the end zone two times, ending the night with five total TDs in BYU’s 49-23 beat down of UCF. Wilson scored all five of his touchdowns in the first half, putting the game away in a hurry.

What’s Wilson’s next step now? Well, 49ers fans certainly hope his next home is Santa Clara. However, the odds still are stacked against San Francisco, even with a lowly 5-9 record.

Wilson finished his junior year with 3,692 passing yards, 33 touchdowns and just three interceptions. He completed 73.5 percent of his pass attempts, and rushed for another 10 touchdowns. No prospect has helped himself more this year. Like Joe Burrow a year ago, Wilson went from a mid-round prospect to a top pick come next year’s NFL draft.

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler recently wrote ”I do think Wilson is the current favorite to be the second quarterback drafted.” That would take the 49ers out of the Wilson sweepstakes.

Robert Saleh Sizes up Josh Rosen

Here’s what a reporter asked Saleh about Rosen:

Q: Going back a couple of years, you prepared for QB Josh Rosen and he wasn’t the most efficient in either of those games, but he did win. As a defensive coordinator, what were the things that you really had to be mindful of when you were going against him?

Saleh: “Josh, obviously, he’s got a first-round talent arm. So, anytime you’ve got somebody with the arm talent that someone like Josh has, he’s always going to be dangerous in terms of being able to get hot and get in rhythm and get the ball where it needs to go. So yes, we had success. Unfortunately for the first game we played him, I thought we did really well. The second game, same thing. It was just that two-minute drive he got hot, and then it was over. That’s just one of those things when you’ve got a talent like him, when they get confident and they get hot in combination with the arm talent that they have, it’s always a worry, I guess.”

Not much of an endorsement.

Ranking 49ers’ top five priorities on their 2021 NFL offseason to-do list

But, ultimately, the 49ers have to decide between one of two options: What the roster would look like with Garoppolo, and what the roster would look like without Garoppolo.

If the 49ers decide to pursue a veteran quarterback in free agency or a trade, they can structure a deal with the new QB where a great deal of cap space is saved in 2020. But which quarterbacks might be available for them to consider adding? The answer to that question will likely drive their decision.

Garoppolo has entered three seasons as the 49ers’ starting quarterback. Essentially, he missed two of those seasons due to injuries. The one year he remained on the field, the 49ers went to the Super Bowl.

After keeping the quarterback room virtually unchanged for 3 1/2 seasons, the 49ers will certainly change up some things next year.

The draft is a roll of the dice because of where the 49ers will be selecting, and which quarterbacks might or might not be available when it is their turn to pick. And if they decide to trade up to get someone Shanahan targets, that will cost a price, too.

Analyst believes Kirk Cousins to 49ers is more than speculation

Rosenthal views Cousins and Ryan as players that could potentially be moved in 2021, but he also knows that it will be more difficult for either to be traded than it would be for other quarterbacks like Carson Wentz, Jimmy Garoppolo, Matthew Stafford, and Sam Darnold.

Fueling the analyst’s thoughts about the Minnesota signal-caller is his connection to current San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone as rumors of Cousins ending up with the 49ers have been floating around for a while now.

The interesting wrinkle that Rosenthal threw into all of this though is that he believes Shanahan’s admiration for Cousins makes him landing in San Francisco sooner than later more than just “idle speculation.”

This makes it seem like the analyst might know a little more about what the 49ers are planning to do during the upcoming offseason and whether or not they will be targeting the Vikings quarterback.