Are the 49ers going to shake things up at quarterback behind Jimmy Garoppolo in 2020?
It was a bit of a controversial decision for San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan to keep three quarterbacks on his 53-man roster — Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard — over the course of 2019.
Mullens beat out Beathard for the No. 2 spot behind Jimmy G, both during the 2018 regular season and the 2019 preseason. And Shanahan could have freed up a roster spot by parting ways with the latter.
But he didn’t. Perhaps it was Shanahan’s faith in Beathard’s development and value. It’s hard to truly pinpoint. And despite Beathard being inactive for all 16 regular-season games and through the playoffs, the context should look entirely different heading into 2020.
Beathard has zero trade value, yet Mullens has it. There were reports San Francisco turned down trade offers for Mullens during the offseason. And if the 49ers were truly interested in parting ways with Mullens, it would have happened by now. The fact it didn’t likely means Mullens isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.
Yet there are signs of change behind Garoppolo, and those could potentially take place as soon as Week 1.
The Niners didn’t select any quarterbacks in the 2020 NFL Draft. But they did ink small-school prospect Broc Rutter out of North Central College as an undrafted free agent. Rutter could end up being a mere practice squad addition. Or he could wind up being yet another example of an undrafted gem, much like Mullens was in 2018.
So, while Garoppolo is locked in as the starter, what happens behind him on the 49ers depth chart in 2020?
Let’s take a look.