Josh Dobbs might help 49ers dodge worst-case scenario in 2024

Josh Dobbs has proven he can get the job done if asked to hold the line as a primary backup.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Josh Dobbs (5)
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Josh Dobbs (5) / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

The 49ers don't want Josh Dobbs to play meaningful snaps in 2024. But if he has to, it might not be the proverbial 'end of the world.'

Generally speaking, any time a team loses its starting quarterback for an entire season, one can cross the hope of making the playoffs off the table.

Just ask the 2018 San Francisco 49ers, who lost their starter to a torn ACL, Jimmy Garoppolo, early in the year and were forced to turn to two lackluster backups, C.J. Beathard and Nick Mullens, thereafter.

What's more common than lost seasons is an injury to a starting signal-caller that might cost him two or three games.

Even though the Niners hope to avoid this at all cost with their Pro Bowl starter, Brock Purdy, they know fully well the value of having a solid backup. It helps explain why San Francisco inked journeyman quarterback Josh Dobbs to a one-year free-agent deal not long after losing its 2023 No. 2 on the depth chart, Sam Darnold, to the Minnesota Vikings at the start of the league new year.

Dobbs, 29 years old, has flirted with being a full-time starter over his six-year career that began as a fourth-round NFL Draft pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers back in 2017 out of Tennessee. He started two games with the Tennessee Titans in 2022 before starting 12 between both the Arizona Cardinals and Vikings a year later, including one feisty contest between Arizona and the 49ers early in the season prior to being traded to Minnesota after it lost its starter, Kirk Cousins, to injury.

Over the span of his career, Dobbs owns a 62.2 completion percentage with 15 passing touchdowns against 13 interceptions, a 77.3 passer rating and six rushing touchdowns.

Those may not be other-worldly snaps. But, in a situation where the Niners lose Purdy for any length of time, Dobbs appears to be the go-to guy who can bridge the gap.

Why Josh Dobbs enters ideal situation as 49ers' No. 2 QB

San Francisco re-signed another Purdy backup from last year, Brandon Allen, who didn't see the field as the No. 3 on the depth chart in 2023.

But Dobbs commands $2.25 million in guaranteed money on his contract, which is notably more than Allen's guaranteed cash, pointing to the former being Purdy's primary backup.

Should Purdy be lost to injury for any length of time, Dobbs will be the go-to option. And he'll enjoy a context unequaled in his playing career up to this point: a roster chock full of All-Pros and Pro Bowlers under the auspices of an offensive genius in head coach Kyle Shanahan.

It's not a bad situation, one Dobbs even called out after joining the 49ers.

Granted, Dobbs shouldn't be hailed as a season-saving quarterback if Purdy suffers some sort of devastating injury that forces him to miss the rest of 2024.

But, if Purdy is absent for a few weeks, Dobbs appears to be an ideal candidate to hold the line under center, being effective enough to prevent a total offensive collapse.

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