The 49ers made a transaction Thursday that signals a change is coming to the team’s quarterback depth chart.
In re-signing quarterback Nate Sudfeld to a fully guaranteed one-year, $2 million contract, the 49ers made their intention known that Sudfeld is the top option to serve as the No. 2 quarterback behind Trey Lance.
It is imperative for the starting and backup quarterbacks to have a good relationship, and Sudfeld fit in well with a quarterback room last season that coach Kyle Shanahan rates at the top of the list of those he has experienced in his career.
“It was a really genuine, cool room where we enjoyed each other,” Shanahan said after the season. “When we were done with football, the meeting didn’t always just end, sometimes we would just sit there and hang out and that was genuine.”
Lance and Sudfeld have a good rapport. They arrived together at the premiere of teammate Trent Williams’ documentary in December.
The 49ers are known to think highly of Sudfeld, 28, who suited up for three games last season due to injuries to Jimmy Garoppolo and Lance. He remained on the team’s practice squad for the entire season, where he was available for any team to sign him for a spot on the active roster at any time.
The 49ers’ intention this offseason is to trade Garoppolo in order to get compensation in return, create $25.5 million in cap space and clear the way for Lance, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, to take over as the starter.
San Francisco 49ers
Garoppolo is eligible to be traded Wednesday, the first day of the new league year, though an agreement with a team can be made at any time. Complicating matters is that Garoppolo might not be cleared to throw a football for four months after undergoing shoulder surgery on Tuesday.
Sudfeld earned approximately $300,000 from the 49ers last season. His new contract includes a guaranteed $2 million that can rise to as much as $3 million with incentives, reported Adam Schefter of ESPN.
Although the 49ers are likely to add two more quarterbacks to the offseason roster, it is unlikely they would exceed the contract handed out to Sudfeld. The move appears to take the 49ers out of the picture to add such veterans as Tyrod Taylor, Marcus Mariota and Mitchell Trubisky.
Sudfeld, who played collegiately at Indiana, entered the NFL as Washington’s sixth-round in 2016. He was inactive every game of his rookie season behind Kirk Cousins and Colt McCoy.
After getting cut before the start of the next season, Sudfeld signed with the Philadelphia Eagles. Over four seasons with the Eagles, he appeared in four games. He completed 25 of 37 pass attempts for 188 yards with one touchdown and one interception.