It’s clear that the 49ers plan to cinch up their backup quarterback spot, not so much as an affront to the skills of starter Jimmy Garoppolo, but as an acknowledgment of his injury-plagued career.
The team isn’t expected to retain last year’s reserves, Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard, so general manager John Lynch must be looking at the pool of free agent signal callers and also at the available players in the draft.
But could there be a QB option already on the 49ers roster? A way to avoid paying a high price for a player that ideally stays on the sideline?
Josh Rosen, the former No. 10 overall choice in the NFL draft, is currently under contract, though he’s admittedly an afterthought, and for good reason. He’s bounced around the NFL already; at 24 years old, he was plucked from the Buccaneers practice squad by Lynch. He was drafted by the Cardinals, then traded to Dolphins before Miami released him, leaving him on the Tampa Bay practice roster.
According to NFL Hall of Fame QB Kurt Warner, Rosen’s inaccuracy in college hasn’t improved in the NFL, and the young QB can’t make decisions in the pocket. Reading what he told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Eric Branch, it’s easy to imagine Rosen is down to his last chance in the league — if hes lucky.
“What we saw in college hasn’t transferred to the NFL,” Warner said. “And it hasn’t transferred in a number of places. He’s had a number of opportunities and it just doesn’t seem to be translating to the NFL game. So you start to wonder, maybe he just doesn’t have that skillset.”Kurt Warner/San Francisco Chronicle
So will Rosen save his career in 2021, helping the 49ers in the process? I think coach Kyle Shanahan is up to the challenge, just as coaches before him were, no doubt. So far, not one has found the key to Rosen’s game, however.
But he still has a big arm, and Shanahan’s offensive system, which is based off a solid run game and play action, could be Rosen’s best shot to salvage his career. It would be a stroke of luck for San Francisco if he did, with plenty of needs across its roster in addition to backup QB.
(Photo credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)