Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports



The San Francisco 49ers are on their way to getting their roster down to the 53-man requirement. The first player reportedly off the team is quarterback Matt Barkley. News of Barkley's release was first reported by Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle.


That likely means the 49ers will be moving forward with rookie C.J. Beathard as starting quarterback Brian Hoyer's backup.

Following Thursday's 23-13 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, head coach Kyle Shanahan stated that a decision on who would be the backup quarterback had already been made, but he didn't disclose the name of the player who had won the job.

Barkley was acquired as a free agent the day after Hoyer was signed. The two were teammates last season on the Chicago Bears. In three preseason games with the 49ers, Barkley completed 13 of his 21 passes for 197 yards and did not throw a touchdown.

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Following the win over the Chargers, Shanahan was asked why Barkley has not received more playing time during preseason. The quarterback did not play in Thursday's game.

"We know what Matt can do," Shanahan said. "We've seen Matt a lot. We've seen him in this league before. We've seen him in practice. There's nothing Matt could've done in that game to change our feeling on him."

Barkley, a fourth-round draft pick out of USC by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2013, played in seven games and started six for the Bears last season. He completed 59.7-percent of his passes for 1,611 yards, six touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Barkley also spent a season (2015) with the Arizona Cardinals.

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"I would love to keep three quarterbacks," Shanahan said on Thursday night, "and that's going to be a hard debate – not about the quarterback position but how we look at the rest of the roster."

It looks like the 49ers might be headed into the 2017 season with just two quarterbacks on the active roster and undrafted rookie Nick Mullens possibly headed to the practice squad. Of course, we'll know more by Saturday's 1 p.m. PT roster cut-down deadline. The 49ers could still add another quarterback made available by another team's roster cuts.

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