Brandon Allen re-signing makes him 49ers' most likely QB2

The first free agency signing of the new year is bringing back last year's QB3, Brandon Allen. But 2024 should see a new role for the quarterback.

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers
Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers / Michael Zagaris/GettyImages

It's officially the poorly named "legal tampering" period in NFL free agency, which allows teams to begin negotiating with free agents.

And while deals cannot be signed until the new league year begins on Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET, these two days are far from dull for NFL fans.

The San Francisco 49ers have been doing some bottom-of-the-roster work so far, bringing back offensive lineman Ben Bartch on a one-year deal and adding a year to right tackle Colton McKivitz's deal, an extension that doesn't preclude the Niners from upgrading at the position in the draft or free agency, no matter what anyone says.

While the first move of the negotiating period that began at noon ET on Monday is closer to those moves than not, it is also one that might mean a new role for the player in question.

Last season's third quarterback, Brandon Allen, is reportedly returning to the team on a one-year deal, and it feels likely that it is one that comes with some opportunity to lock down the backup role behind 49ers' starting quarterback Brock Purdy.

In 2023, that job was held by Sam Darnold, but there appears to be enough smoke around rumors of the former first-round pick as a starting option for QB-needy teams for a fire to be burning, suggesting that teams like the Vikings, Broncos, or Patriots could see Darnold as a bridge player, especially if any of these teams draft a young signal-caller in April's draft.

Given the 49ers' current salary cap situation and their need to improve at other areas on the team, particularly along the offensive and defensive lines, giving Darnold the pay rise, from the $4.5 million he made last season, he'll probably ask for in 2024 doesn't make a lot of sense.

This doesn't mean the QB2 battle is over in March, since the 49ers are certain to bring in another low-cost veteran and either a late-round draft pick or undrafted rookie option to compete, but unless it's going to be an uphill battle in either case.

There are definitely more moves to be made, and hopefully, the 49ers are gearing up for some big moves to help them get back to the Super Bowl. But for now, it appears they've at least got a competent backup quarterback behind Purdy set for 2024.

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