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How one roster move saved the 49ers' season before it even began

Jan 25, 2023

Only days before the NFL’s 53-man cutdown deadline in August, the quarterback now hailed as the San Francisco 49ers’ savior wasn’t even a sure bet to make their roster.

Brock Purdy, the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, had to beat a well-liked veteran whom the 49ers had just paid lavishly to be their top backup.

On March 11, 2022, the 49ers all but anointed Nate Sudfeld as their No. 2 quarterback by giving him a fully guaranteed $2 million contract. At the time, the 49ers intended to trade incumbent starter Jimmy Garoppolo to save salary-cap space and pave the way for 2021 first-round pick Trey Lance to take over.

The 49ers valued the 6-foot-6 Sudfeld because of his prototypical size, versatile skill set and obvious rapport with Lance. Sudfeld, a 28-year-old career backup, became a trusted friend and mentor to the raw but talented Lance while spending most of the previous season on the 49ers' practice squad.

As April’s NFL Draft approached, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch discussed the possibility of adding a third quarterback with one of the team’s final picks. In an interview with Bay Area radio station KNBR earlier this month, Lynch recalled Shanahan telling him, “I’d like to go get another young quarterback just to add into the mix. Let’s try to identify one later.”

Source: Yahoo Sports

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