No. 1: Keeping 3 QBs on the 49ers’ roster
At this point in his career, Nick Mullens isn’t an NFL-caliber starting quarterback. But there’s no competition between him and C.J. Beathard, no matter what Shanahan tries to sell the media.
Simply put, Shanahan’s quarterback “competition” was a farce. The 49ers’ head coach made sure to give his star pupil every potential chance to win the team’s backup quarterback job — and Shanahan would have gladly declared Beathard the winner if the QB simply showed the slightest bit of progress — but he didn’t.
Keeping three quarterbacks on the 49ers’ roster was a mistake, as was failing to trade one of the two backup QBs when the Denver Broncos inquired. If Shanahan is truly willing to trade a quarterback for a reasonable price, San Francisco is playing a dangerous game of chicken as they pray for the right QB on the right team to injure himself at the right time.
Otherwise, the Niners are stuck with a $1 million scout-team quarterback who is wasting a valuable spot on San Francisco’s 53-man roster, while Lynch ironically complains that the NFL roster limit needs to be expanded.
It doesn’t matter that Beathard has a good — but not great — arm, and it doesn’t matter that he’s the toughest quarterback on the team’s roster; if he can’t work the pocket, throw accurate passes or win football games, then he’s wasting a roster spot that could be used on a player who could potentially contribute to victories in 2019.
Looking ahead, there’s no light at the end of the tunnel for Shanahan and Beathard. If Beathard is forced into action this season, Shanahan’s job will likely be on the line. And if Beathard collects his weekly checks while riding the bench all season, what are Shanahan’s plans for his four-year, one-win QB in 2020?
The past three years have been a learning experience for both John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. Roster construction is one of the areas the duo can approve upon going forward, in what fans of the San Francisco 49ers hope is a long and fruitful partnership.