What C.J. Beathard’s development does for the 49ers
Before we begin to get into the impact of Beathard’s development, we need to see what exactly he will be developing. What exactly does this development entail? Well, for Beathard, this year will be all about improving his weaknesses and showing growth as a player.
NFL.com’s scouting report of Beathard had this to say about his weaknesses entering the NFL:
"Hesitation is a noticeable issue. Often late to pull trigger on throws toward the sideline, forcing receivers into boundary and out of the catch. Slow field scanner who tends to lock into a single side. Too much eyeballing and not enough manipulating. Poor feel for pocket pressure. Two-year sack total of 58 is too high in play-action attack. Deep-ball accuracy has been terrible. Completed under 30 percent of throws beyond 20 yards in last two seasons at Iowa. Completed just 43 percent of throws beyond line of scrimmage to right sideline."
As you saw this last year, most of these problems were accurate. Beathard was always indecisive with his throws and struggled mightily with deep-ball accuracy. This year will be about showing how much he has learned, mentally, and how much he has advanced, physically.
The Short Term
In the immediate short term, the only reason why Beathard’s development would be important is in case of a Garoppolo injury.
That would be all our reactions. As much as we would hope that Jimmy G will never get hurt, eventually the injury bug strikes everyone. While starting for the Patriots during Brady’s four-game suspension in 2016, he got injured in the second game, eventually being out for around six weeks, so there is an injury history. If the 49ers are serious about contending this year, Beathard needs to be able to adequately fill in for Jimmy G.
He won’t have to play.
San Francisco 49ers
The Long Term
The reason why Beathard’s development is crucial to the 49ers is that he would unlock so many possibilities for the team. As I mentioned previously, there are only a few options available to Beathard. He would either be stuck with the 49ers as an overpaid backup QB, or he could try his luck elsewhere in the league, leaving the 49ers empty handed.
At its core, running a football team is like running a business. You invest in ideas or products, and you try to make a profit. This is the way legendary coaches like Bill Walsh, Bill Belichick and other coaches not named Bill thought.
Let’s think like that for a second. The 49ers essentially invested a third-round pick in Beathard. If he stays with the team, they don’t gain or lose anything, really. They break even. If Beathard leaves the team in three years, they lose on their investment. But if Beathard gets traded, like Garoppolo or the other examples listed above were, the 49ers could probably get a higher pick than the one they used. They turned a profit.
This is why Beathard’s development becomes so crucial for the 49ers. If Beathard can show how much he’s improved over the course of a year, his trade value goes sky high. Then, the 49ers hold all the cards. If they want to hold onto Beathard, they can. But teams, like how the Niners were a year ago, would come calling offering picks in order to grab Beathard.
Let’s say Beathard becomes like McCarron. That seems to be a reasonable estimate. McCarron was worth a second- and a third-round pick to the Browns. If the 49ers received a second- and third-round pick for Beathard, the Niners’ investment would have to be considered a huge success.
This is the NFL we now live in. Having a quarterback is the difference from being a Super Bowl contender to a bottom feeder.
Hopefully, the 49ers will be able to control which teams get one.