No. 5: Quarterback C.J. Beathard
This one is a hard evaluation. After all, once backup quarterback Nick Mullens surfaced as a solid replacement in 2018, fellow signal-caller C.J. Beathard‘s time as the primary insurance to Jimmy Garoppolo appeared to be numbered.
Despite Mullens winning the backup job out of the preseason this year, Kyle Shanahan still elected to keep Beathard around on the 53-man roster, albeit as a member of the weekly inactives through Week 10.
Yes, there was a report the 49ers were receiving calls from other teams potentially looking to make a trade for Beathard. But nothing surfaced before the 2019 NFL trade deadline.
Something could happen this offseason, true. And it’s possible it involves Mullens on the move, making Beathard a stronger candidate to stick around in 2020.
Yet Shanahan is already paying something of a price for keeping three quarterbacks on his 53-man roster. San Francisco’s injury report has been awfully long this season. The extra roster spot could have alleviated some of the depth concerns the team has carried over the first half-plus of 2019.
Shanahan seems to like Beathard, for whatever reasons. But that’s not enough to absolutely guarantee the former third-round NFL Draft pick is retained on the roster into Week 1 of 2020.
Simply put, Shanahan could elect to change his mind about the number of quarterbacks he keeps next year. All other things staying equal, Beathard is the one who’ll have to go.