Beathard and Nick Mullens will start the offseason program on even ground in a competition for the No. 2 quarterback job, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area reports. "We'll rotate C.J. (Beathard) and Nick (Mullens) with the twos," coach Kyle Shanahan said Tuesday. "(We'll) flip a coin the first day."
A 2017 third-round pick, Beathard has just one victory in 10 NFL starts, with his functional ability to move the ball (6.8 YPA, 4.6 YPC) negated by a plethora of sacks (37), interceptions (13) and fumbles (eight). Mullens lacks the draft pedigree and had the same issues with sloppy mistakes, but he at least went 3-5 as the starter last season while completing 64.2 percent of his passes for 8.3 yards per attempt. With two capable backup quarterbacks on hand, the 49ers would be wise to consider a trade, though it's far from a sure thing with Jimmy Garoppolo working his way back from an ACL tear. Despite what Shanahan said, Mullens should have the upper hand in this competition.
Beathard took over for Jimmy Garoppolo (knee) starting in Week 4, and while he couldn't lead the 49ers to a victory in his five starts, he performed adequately from a statistical standpoint. Still, the 49ers' losing streak forced Kyle Shanahan's hand and he benched the 25-year-old in favor of practice-squad quarterback Nick Mullens. The latter possessed a stronger arm and was able to make some big plays for the team, leaving Beathard on the bench for the rest of the campaign. The initial assumption is that Garoppolo will be ready to go next season, so the 49ers will have to make a decision on who their backup quarterback will be. Beathard and Mullens figure to compete in camp, with the latter having the upper hand based on how the 2018 season concluded. It wouldn't be surprising to see San Francisco trade one of the two young signal callers, as both proved that they can play at the NFL level.
Beathard will remain the 49ers' backup quarterback for the Week 13 game with the Seahawks after coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday that Nick Mullens would retain the starting role, Curtis Pashelka of The San Jose Mercury News reports.
Mullens will be under center for the fourth consecutive game, but Shanahan made it clear that the Southern Mississippi product's grip on the No. 1 gig is far from secure. Since lighting up the Raiders for 11.9 yards per attempt and three touchdowns in his NFL debut in Week 9, Mullens has regressed badly in his last two outings against mediocre teams in the Giants and Buccaneers, completing 63.4 of his passes for 6.6 YPA, two touchdowns and four interceptions. Mullens will face his stiffest test to date on the road versus the 6-5 Seahawks and could be at risk of getting benched if he struggles for the third game in a row. That would pave the way for Beathard to get another look, but the 2017 third-round pick hasn't proved to be any better of an option through his first two seasons in the league. Over 13 appearances (10 starts), Beathard has completed 57.3 percent of his passes for 6.8 YPA and a 12:13 TD:INT while fumbling eight times.
Beathard may get another chance to start in December, Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Nick Mullens predictably has regressed since his 262-yard, three-score NFL debut Week 9 against Oakland, throwing two touchdowns and four interceptions the past two games (both losses to bad teams). Beathard has his own issues with turnovers, but he does have an advantage over Mullens in size, mobility and arm strength. Looking beyond this season, the 49ers still need to figure out if either player is good enough to serve as their long-term No. 2 quarterback behind Jimmy Garoppolo (knee).
Though Beathard looks to be in decent health after his wrist/thumb injury limited him to backup duties in the Week 9 win over the Raiders, it would have been a major surprise if he reclaimed the top gig after Mullens dazzled in his NFL debut. Mullens torched the Raiders for 262 passing yards and three touchdowns while completing 16 of 22 attempts in the 34-3 win. Perhaps most notable was the fact that Mullens didn't commit a turnover, an area where Beathard (seven interceptions, three lost fumbled) has faltered through his five starts this season. It's possible that Beathard will earn another opportunity to start later in the campaign if Mullens falters in his subsequent opportunities, but for the time being, the second-year signal-caller's future in San Francisco beyond 2018 suddenly looks murky.
|2017||San Francisco 49ers||7||5||224||123||54.9||1430||6.38||83||4||6||19/141||16||6||69.2|
|2018||San Francisco 49ers||6||5||169||102||60.4||1252||7.41||82||8||7||18/156||17||4||81.8|
|2017||San Francisco 49ers||7||5||26||136||5.2||16||3||0||9|
|2018||San Francisco 49ers||6||5||19||69||3.6||13||1||0||6|
|2017||San Francisco 49ers||7||1||1.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|2018||San Francisco 49ers||6||2||2.0||0||0||0||0||0.0||0||0||0|
|Year||Team||G||Fum||Lost||Fum Forced||Own Rec||Opp Rec||Yds||Tot Rec||TD|
|2017||San Francisco 49ers||7||3||2||0||1||0||0||1||0|
|2018||San Francisco 49ers||6||5||3||0||2||0||0||2||0|