The 49ers almost certainly did not sign Nate Sudfeld to play quarterback in real games.
He's a terrible a quarterback. The Eagles played him Week 16 when they wanted to lose on purpose, and he helped them lose by committing two turnovers.
But there's a reason the 49ers signed him and gave him $250,000 guaranteed. He will have an important role on this team next season.
He will be the scout team quarterback.
He'll help the starter prepare during meetings for that week's opponent. And he will help the defense prepare during practice for that week's opposing quarterback. Meaning Sudfeld will do his best to mimic whichever quarterback the 49ers face next.
That's an extremely specific job, and one he's suited to do.
The 49ers current quarterbacks coach, Rich Scangarello, knows Sudfeld quite well -- they worked together on the Eagles last season. Scangarello knows how smart and professional Sudfeld is, qualities that make him perfect for the scout team. The 49ers don't expect to develop into an actual player.
But they need a designated scout-team quarterback, because their backup, Trey Lance, is a young project who doesn't need to waste his time learning how to mimic other quarterbacks in the league. He needs to learn the offense and get himself ready to take over the team.
When Colin Kaepernick was a young, developing backup quarterback, he wasn't the scout-team QB -- Scott Tolzien was. Sudfeld can be this team's Tolzien.
And Sudfeld most likely will go to the practice squad, because the 49ers also have Josh Rosen, another young, developing quarterback with potential who deserves a roster spot. Rosen is a better player than Sudfeld, while Sudfeld most likely is a better practicer than Rosen.
I'm guessing the 49ers gave Sudfeld that $250,000 guarantee as a way to convince him to join the practice squad, because it doesn't pay well. So that guarantee will be the bulk of his salary next season if he joins the taxi squad.
And he probably will, because he's Nate Sudfeld, and the 49ers are the only team that wants him.