49ers 53-man roster projection: Quarterback

With the start of training camp about three weeks away, now is the perfect time to take a look at each of the position groups on the San Francisco 49ers roster and predict who will make the 53-man roster.

Most of the news around the 49ers has been about the quarterbacks, so let’s start there.

On the roster: Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo, Nate Sudfeld, Brock Purdy

Analysis: When the quarterback position has been right, San Francisco has won a lot of games under Kyle Shanahan. In 2019 they reached the Super Bowl, and this last season the 49ers took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter of the NFC Championship Game.

This season brings change, with all signs pointing to Trey Lance moving into the starting role, replacing Jimmy Garoppolo. 

Lance made two starts as a rookie, week five on the road against Arizona and week 17 in a must-win contest at Levi’s Stadium against Houston. Lance not only showed improvement from one game to the next, but he also showed improvement throughout each game. 

San Francisco led the NFL last year in net yards per pass with an average of 7.7. While Garoppolo often benefitted from his receiver’s ability to gain yards after the catch, Lance took more chances with throws down the field leading to a higher average yards per completion. Pushing the ball downfield along with using his athleticism to minimize sacks should help the 49ers be around the top of the league once again in 2022.

Question marks: There are a couple of question marks surrounding the 49ers quarterback position, starting with what the team will do with Jimmy Garoppolo. 

While speaking to reporters during OTAs, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan was explicitly asked about the status of Garoppolo, who is still recovering from right shoulder surgery earlier this offseason. 

“I expect him at some time, most likely, to be traded, but who knows? That’s not a guarantee,” Shanahan said. “It’s been on hold when (surgery) happened. When he’s healthy, we will see what happens.”

If Garoppolo is not on the roster, who will serve as the backup to Trey Lance? 

The backup quarterback position will come down to a battle between Nate Sudfeld and rookie Brock Purdy. Sudfeld outperformed Purdy during OTA and minicamp practices. The veteran worked with Lance last season, and Lance credited Sudfeld for helping to get him up to speed with the 49ers offense. 

While San Francisco gave Sudfeld $2 million fully guaranteed for this season, the deciding factor in this competition may be whether the team feels it can safely get Purdy through waivers and onto its practice squad. If not, look for Sudfeld to bounce between the active roster and practice squad on a weekly basis. 

53-man Roster Projection: (2) Trey Lance, Nate Sudfeld. The 49ers will trade or release Jimmy Garoppolo prior to training camp, and Brock Purdy will be cut and re-signed to the practice squad.

This article has 22 Comments

  1. Several observers thought Purdy outplayed Sudfield in OTS’s. But I do agree that Sudfield goes in as the backup favorite due to the $2,000,000 oddly squandered on him. I want to take a good look at Purdy in camp. He clearly outplayed Sudfield as Cohn and others have noted.

    1. “Several observers thought Purdy outplayed Sudfield in OTS’s.”

      A lot of that is based on one play from each at the end of the final day of minicamp. Here are their numbers from OTA and minicamp practices open to the media.

      Trey Lance: 50-67 (74.6%), 6 TD, 2 Int
      Nate Sudfeld: 38-51, (74.5%), 5 TD, 2 Int
      Brock Purdy: 16-25, (64%), 2 TD, 1 Int

      1. “Sudfeld outperformed Purdy during OTA and minicamp practices. The veteran worked with Lance last season, and Lance credited Sudfeld for helping to get him up to speed with the 49ers offense.”

        I’m confused. Was the article edited or something?

        I’m not a Brock Purdy hater but in my opinion he lacks the basic skill set to be an NFL qb. I watched him quite a bit in college. He’s a gamer. Definitely admired his toughness and grit but he lacks the arm strength for NFL play. He’s basically like a less athletic and weaker armed CJ Beathard.

        1. I was replying to Allie, and disagree with the assessment of Purdy being better than Sudfeld during offseason workouts.

  2. I agree with most of the analysis here. I don’t really put much credence into the importance of the backup QB. The last few season we burned an extra roster spot keeping 3 QB on our roster and it did little to no good. Seasons in which Jimmy got injured, we did not make the playoffs. If a team loses the starting QB for a significant period of time it’s time to start thinking about next season.

  3. Don’t come here often, and glad I don’t seeing users with names like “Gavin Nuisance” and “1.6 Patriots” (aka January 6th).

    Leave the maga crap at the door.

  4. SF should seriously consider keeping Jimmy as QB2. In the event that Mike McGarbage is the starting RT, we will need a good back-up QB to finish the season with McGargage guaranteed to get our QBs demolished on passing situations.

    1. Jack
      While I agree with your 9er QB analysis, I would add a couple of points.
      1) Lance suffered a chipped bone in his right index finger of his throwing hand, during the 49ers’ 2021 final preseason game! The right index finger never fully healed until after the season was over and obviously affected his ability to grip the ball……This, IMO, accounts for much of the reports of his improvements during OTA’s.
      2) I’ll wait until the pads come on, before assessing if Purdy or Sudfield will be Lances backup QB. I do agree the 9ers could lose Purdy if they try putting him through waivers and to the practice squad.
      3) I suspect JL has a JG trade agreement in place once he demonstrates he can throw the ball. But if not, I expect the 9ers to hold onto him until the last pre season game, before cutting him.
      4) There’s NO WAY JG will still be a 9er during the regular season, WHY? Because they’ll need his $25.5 Million in cap saving, to pay for Deebo and Bosa’s contract extensions and have the cap space to resign any of the 47 free agents the 9ers will have in 2023.

  5. Decent analysis, given we’re in early July. I suspect another QB (not on the roster today) will enter the arena as a strong #2 candidate before training camp is completed. I don’t have any names, but I just have this sense. Can’t wait for August to arrive…

  6. So Baker was traded to Carolina for a conditional 5th?

    And Cleveland ate half his salary on top of it?

    Anyone offering a first for Jimmy at that salary should be fired for incompetence.

    At this point he either stays on the roster and they find another way to get Deebo his money, or they release him and potentially watch him go start in Seattle or back up someone (or act as a stopgap) elsewhere for a year. Not much of a market for an oft injured quarterback that has a notable limitation throwing downfield and outside the numbers, even if he took an otherwise excellent roster deep into the playoffs twice.

      1. What’s your point? That I used the word buffoon as a generalization to no one in particular while you used the word idiot directly at someone and yet got caught casting aspersions about my quote/unquote “name calling?”

        You’re acting quite childish in that regard. Don’t like my name? Don’t respond to me. It’s quite simple.

        1. It’s ok. When I see your name I read it as Gavin Newterm.

          An the 1.6 guy? Just thinking of all those “Patriots” prison bound.

          1. It’s ok. When I see your name I read it as Gavin Newterm.

            And the 1.6 guy? Just thinking of all those “Patriots” prison bound.

            OMG, this response is PURE GOLD!

  7. BREAKING NFL NEWS: Panthers Trade for Browns QB Baker Mayfield….
    Panthers GM Scott Fitterer delivered on his promise that the team would add a quarterback this offseason by agreeing to a trade with the Cleveland Browns involving Baker Mayfield, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
    The Panthers will send a 2024 5th round pick in exchange for the 27-year-old veteran quarterback He will be on the final year of his rookie contract. To make the deal happen, the Browns have agreed to pay $10.5 million of Mayfield’s 2022 salary ($18 million).
    https://www.si.com/nfl/panthers/news/panthers-trade-for-browns-qb-baker-mayfield

    Could the 9ers and the Browns make a similar trade for JG?

  8. Wow. Baker to Carolina. What a desperate move by Carolina. That team will not be good for the next few years. Cleveland on the other hand has a very good roster Add Jimmy G to Nick Chubb/Kareem Hunt, Amari Cooper, and Njoku – that could be a top 5 scoring offense in the NFL. Cleveland could make some noise in the AFC if they could find a decent QB.

    1. Actually Baker agreed to take a pay cut on top of the Browns agreeing to pay half his salary. So Carolina is paying only like $5.5M for this year. He can earn back his pay cut with incentives but if he earns them back then it was more than worth it.

      Plus they hardly gave up any draft capital so this is a pretty low risk move by Carolina with potential upside if he performs.

  9. RG3 has a point, but I have a feeling we will be forced to release. His contract is the biggest obstacle right now.

    Robert Griffin III
    @RGIII
    If Deshaun Watson is suspended for an extended period of time, the Browns should trade for Jimmy Garoppolo. No matter how you feel about Jimmy G, he is a proven winner for a roster ready to win now.

  10. IMHO Brock Purdy is a Rock Star in spite of his numbers. His College numbers speak for themselves. Give him an O-line and he will take the 49ers to another Super Bowl.

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