The initial 53-man roster has come out for the 49ers, and it includes maligned 3rd-string quarterback C.J. Beathard. Niner Noise explains why the Niners should be looking to move him as fast as possible.
With the initial 53-man roster finalized for the San Francisco 49ers, it’s important to note how volatile everything still is. The entire waiver process will take place once cuts are finalized, giving teams the ability to get young players on their team.
And the Niners owned the No. 2 waiver claim, by the way.
One player who will not be going through that process is presumed third-string quarterback C.J. Beathard.
Beathard, whom San Francisco took in the third round during head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch’s first draft back in 2017, made the roster — a move the 49ers brass indicated could happen but still came as a shock.
The problem with Beathard is his stark lack of progression. Lance Zierlein’s draft profile of Beathard pointed out several flaws, such as how he struggled with anticipation and got sacked too much.
Entering his third year, Beathard struggles with anticipation and gets sacked too often.
Last year, I broke down why Beathard’s development was critical for the Niners. The logic was fairly simple: a good backup quarterback will always be in high demand and will always fetch strong draft compensation. The 49ers “invested” a third-round pick in Beathard; they would want a return on investment at the least.
That’s not going to happen. No team is that desperate for a quarterback right now. And even if a team was, no one would trade a third-round pick.
That doesn’t mean Beathard lacks trade value. Most pundits saw Shanahan’s continued reassurance of three quarterbacks on the roster as a way to drive trade interest. Lynch confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch there was interest in the 49ers backups, but no team would meet the asking price:
There is simply no need to keep Beathard on the roster anymore. Nick Mullens clearly showed he was the superior quarterback, both last year and during preseason this year.
Even if Beathard can be considered equal to Mullens in talent and ability (he isn’t), having a third quarterback in case of injury isn’t going to help the 49ers very much. If the Niners have to use QB3 on the depth chart, the entire season is practically lost.
Now back to the waiver wire.
The 49ers, with the second waiver priority behind only the Arizona Cardinals and a need at safety and offensive line, will probably claim players, forcing cuts (as of this article’s creation, transactions have yet to be reported). Keeping a third quarterback removes a potential spot for a high-quality swing tackle, guard or safety.
But the most important reason the 49ers should try to trade Beathard is because there somehow is a market for him. According to NFL Network’s Nate Burelson (h/t Mile High Sports), the Broncos tried to trade for a 49ers backup during preseason, only to be rebuffed.
Now, the Broncos cut their two backup quarterbacks, with Drew Lock injured, leaving them with only Joe Flacco as ready to play (h/t Niners Wire). The Broncos now run the 49ers offensive playbook with former Niners QB coach Rich Scangarello as offensive coordinator.
Everything is in place for the 49ers. The need for a roster spot, the market for Beathard.
All that’s left is for Lynch and Co. to pull the trigger.