INDIANAPOLIS — The San Francisco 49ers suddenly have an overabundance of quarterbacks after Nick Mullens proved himself a capable signal-caller during the 2018 season.
Jimmy Garoppolo tore his ACL after starting the season 1-2, giving way to C.J. Beathard, who went 0-5 on the season and hurt his wrist, thrusting Mullens into the starting role. Mullens, 23, went 3-5 and impressed enough that he could have some value to a team looking for a developmental backup. Beathard, 25, was drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He also could still have some appeal for teams looking for a young quarterback.
49ers general manager John Lynch left open the possibility of trading either Mullens or Beathard.
“I think we never close the door on anything, but we really like the three quarterbacks that we have,” Lynch said. “It’s an extremely important position in this league. We like each and every one of those guys for what they bring to the table both in their talent and who they are as people. We’re big believers in all of them. Traditionally, we’ve been of the belief that we keep two because it allows you to do things with your roster, but never close the door on keeping three either. I think they’re all talented players who are good people, good leaders, and we’re big fans of all of them.”
Ideally, the 49ers would wait until the start of the 2019 season to trade either Mullens or Beathard to give themselves some injury insurance over the summer. Those two quarterbacks likely have more value now, however, because they would have the entire offseason to learn their new offense.
The Patriots traded Garoppolo to the 49ers midway through the 2017 season. The Patriots are still left looking for Tom Brady’s successor. A player like Mullens could be a low-cost option if the Patriots aren’t intrigued by the 2019 quarterback draft class or 2018 rookie Danny Etling.
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