Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

How the 49ers can keep all 3 of their QBs on the roster with certainty

Rohan Chakravarthi
Aug 28, 2022 at 3:30 PM--

The 53-man cutdown date is coming up soon, as the San Francisco 49ers will be required to trim their roster to the aforementioned number by 4 PM Eastern Time on August 30th.

One of the many tough decisions they'll have to make is in regard to the quarterback position, where backups Brock Purdy and Nate Sudfeld have been taking reps in training camp and the preseason.

Currently, Nate Sudfeld has taken all of the second-team reps, making him the clear-cut backup, but Purdy has played fairly well in the preseason and could potentially be claimed by another should he be released and reach waivers.

If the 49ers are looking to ensure, with certainty, that all three of their quarterbacks remain on the roster for 2022, there's one way to do so: cutting Nate Sudfeld and re-signing him to the practice squad, while placing Brock Purdy as the second quarterback on the 53-man roster.

As a vested veteran, cutting Sudfeld would immediately make him a free agent, rather than exposing him to waivers, which means the team could immediately re-sign him to the practice squad.

If the 49ers cut Purdy, his rookie status would subject him to waivers, meaning that another team could claim him and the four years of team control on his contract.

So, if the 49ers choose to cut Sudfeld and roster Purdy, they could keep their quarterback room intact with certainty, allowing second-year player Trey Lance to have his mentor Sudfeld in the building, while keeping his potential backup-of-the-future on the roster.

Sudfeld would carry a $2 million dead cap hit if released due to the fully-guaranteed contract the 49ers signed him to at the beginning of this offseason, so this route would cost the 49ers a little extra money if they did in fact re-sign him to the practice squad at the veteran minimum.

Now, is this the most realistic option for the 53-man roster? No.

Sudfeld has taken all of the second-team reps at quarterback in practice, suggesting no signs that the 49ers would part ways with him.

More importantly, placing Sudfeld on the practice squad would only allow him to be activated to the game-day roster twice during the season, after which he would have to be placed on the active 53-man roster.

Internally, the 49ers may be confident enough in Purdy's skillset to have faith in him as the backup, but based on his lack of reps with anything but the third-team in practice, there are no indications this is the case.

Additionally, only nine of the 32 NFL teams rostered three quarterbacks, making it unlikely that Purdy gets claimed on waivers, relegating him back to the practice squad.

My projection is that the 49ers retain Lance and Sudfeld as their two quarterbacks on the 53-man roster, but if they truly desire to keep all three quarterbacks with a certainty, there is a solution available, although it comes with the cost of Sudfeld not being active for more than two games.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.

1 Comment

  • Alex
    Haven't you forgotten a QB still on the roster right there :-)?
    Aug 28, 2022 at 4:05 PM

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