NFL Free Agency

Why 49ers signed journeyman Dobbs to compete for backup job

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The 49ers hoped to bring back their top three quarterbacks from last season.

But they settled for two out of three.

Starter Brock Purdy enters the third season of his four-year contract as the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. The 49ers re-signed Brandon Allen at the start of the free-agent signing period after a season in which he was behind Purdy and backup Sam Darnold on the depth chart.

“We were kind of waiting on Darnold because Darnold had interest in coming back if a starting opportunity did not present itself,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said this week at the NFL Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

Darnold appears to be in line to replace Kirk Cousins as the Minnesota Vikings’ starting quarterback after signing a one-year, $10 million contract.

“We kind of gathered and said, ‘Let’s get one more option for competition at No. 2,’” Lynch said.

The 49ers recently signed Joshua Dobbs to a one-year, fully guaranteed $2.35 million contract to compete with Allen for the backup role. The 49ers faced some competition to sign Dobbs, Lynch said.

Dobbs spent last offseason with the Cleveland Browns before landing with the Arizona Cardinals in a late-August trade. He proved to be a quick study, starting the first eight games of the season with his new team.

In Week 4, he completed 28 of 41 passes for 265 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing for 48 yards, against the 49ers.

“I thought he was really tough to play against, especially in Arizona,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “The way he ran their scheme, he made them a tough team to beat.”

After Cousins experienced a season-ending injury, the Vikings acquired Dobbs in a trade. He started four games with Minnesota before getting benched.

“I loved how consistent he was,” Shanahan said. “You could tell whatever the game plan was, he executed extremely well.

“I loved how competitive he was when he ran, how physical he was in breaking tackles. He gave his team a good chance to win.”

Dobbs, 29, entered the league as a fourth-round pick by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2017 NFL Draft.

He has appeared in 21 games with 14 starts. He has completed 62.2 percent of his pass attempts with 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with four different teams.

Dobbs should have little problem picking up the 49ers’ offense.

He majored in aerospace engineering at Tennessee, and has twice interned at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The 49ers’ offense might be complex, but it’s certainly not rocket science.

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