49ers 53-man roster prediction before final preseason game vs. Texans

Trey Lance #5 and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Trey Lance #5 and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images) /
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Brock Purdy, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (14) Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers 53-man roster predictions: Quarterback (3)

Quarterback (3): Trey Lance, Nate Sudfeld, Brock Purdy*

OK, yes, we get it. Quarterback is part of the offense, but there’s enough to digest here that it calls for a slide of its own.

Let’s get one thing out of the way: San Francisco is going to move Jimmy Garoppolo at some point between now and Week 1. The 49ers aren’t going to take on Garoppolo’s $24.2 million base salary and make it fully guaranteed by the time Sept. 11 rolls around to simply make him a high-priced backup.

From the Niners’ vantage point, the pending Garoppolo transaction is ideally a trade with something in return. However, with time running out to execute such a move, an outright release to save that bulk of cash is almost just as valuable in the long run.

Besides, Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have repeatedly stressed it’s time for Trey Lance now.

That drama effectively ends there, at least as far as starting quarterbacks go. But there’s plenty of discussion surrounding whether or not San Francisco should keep three signal-callers on the 53-man roster.

With backup Nate Sudfeld set to earn $2 million fully guaranteed, he’s not going anywhere.

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So, the simple question is if the 49ers wind up holding onto the final pick of the 2021 draft, Brock Purdy, who has shown enough pluck and athleticism over two preseason games to at least warrant conversation.

If Purdy is waived, there’s an awfully strong chance another one of the 31 teams out there claims him as a backup and developmental quarterback, and the Niners may see Purdy as an eventual No. 2 backup once Sudfeld’s contract expires in 2023.

The smarter long-term play might simply be to keep Purdy around, even if he’s a regular gameday inactive once Week 1 hits.

Official roster cuts have to be in no later than 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Aug. 30.

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