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What Will the 49ers do at Backup Quarterback?

The backup quarterback is a spot that the 49ers have valued for years now and they will have to address it again with Sam Darnold becoming a free agent.

One position of need on the San Francisco 49ers flying under the radar is backup quarterback.

That is a spot that the 49ers have valued for years. Given how their starting quarterbacks have only finished a full season twice under Kyle Shanahan, it makes sense why they place so much value into it.

Last year, the 49ers looked to Sam Darnold to be their backup. He signed a one-year deal for $4.5 million with playing incentives that would have driven up his deal up to $11.5 million. I sincerely doubt the 49ers are going to give him or any other backup quarterback a similar deal when free agency hits next week.

If that is the case, then I don't know if Darnold will be willing to take a lesser salary this time around. There are certainly options out there in free agency for the 49ers to consider. The NFL draft is also where the 49ers can look to fill their need for a backup quarterback, but I would imagine that they sign someone now to place their contingency immediately. So, what will the 49ers do at backup quarterback?

I think the 49ers will first and foremost see if they can bring back Darnold. It could be a little odd to Darnold for him to come back if the 49ers offer him a lesser salary and without the incentives. Signing with the 49ers made sense for him because the odds were decent of him playing. But that never came to fruition until the regular season finale when the 49ers were coasting to the playoffs.

Darnold will likely be their first preference, but after that, it really doesn't matter. Sign someone who will cost less than what Darnold was last year and then draft a rookie. Boom, your quarterback room is set going into training camp. This whole thought of a backup quarterback has been so heavily talked about with the 49ers since 2017, and that is all thanks to Jimmy Garoppolo. His tenure forever changed how a backup quarterback is valued in regards to the 49ers.

The reality is that if Brock Purdy sustains a season-ending injury, then the 49ers will not win the Super Bowl. Now, the 49ers will want to find someone who is a decent quarterback that they can envision running the offense in case he has to play. They don’t want the season to ride on the availability of Purdy alone given how much talent they have on the team. But these quarterbacks are glorified backups for a reason. For once, the 49ers need to not be so heavily invested in it because if they get to that point where their backup is playing, then it's all over.

Bringing back Darnold at least gives them someone who they don't have to worry about teaching the offense and integrating themselves again. We'll see soon what the 49ers do here.