Surprise Name, Former No. 1 Pick Predicted to the 49ers QB Room

Nick Bosa

Getty Nick Bosa goes after Baker Mayfield on October 7, 2019 in Santa Clara.

Surprise. The San Francisco 49ers have been mentioned about possibly adding their second former top-five pick to the quarterback room. But this one a former No. 1 overall pick.

NFL insider Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated on Friday, March 3 gave this surprise prediction: He sees the Niners “going in” on Baker Mayfield. The same Mayfield who’s an unrestricted free agent for the Los Angeles Rams.

“I don’t, for what it’s worth, think that San Francisco’s going to break the bank. But I could absolutely see [John] Lynch and Kyle Shanahan going in on someone like Baker Mayfield, who has experience in that type of offense and a boatload of starting experience. Keep an eye on that one,” Breer predicted during the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine.

Albert Breer Not the Only Insider Calling Baker Mayfield a Fit for 49ers

Breer has an ally in another insider believing the 49ers and the top pick of the 2018 NFL Draft Mayfield are a potential pairing.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic wrote how he believes the Niners are among Mayfield’s best options once teams can make official signings on Wednesday, March 15 as free agency in the league officially begins.

“Mayfield’s best options could be returning to the Rams or joining the 49ers or Broncos. All three teams have successful, offensive-minded head coaches and starting quarterbacks who missed time due to injury during the 2022 season,” Howe wrote Friday.

Why is Mayfield’s name being brought up? Especially since he got on the bad side of the 49ers’ best pass rusher Nick Bosa during their college career which led to retaliation in 2019 from Bosa himself? Mayfield is a UFA…and the 49ers are facing the inevitability of needing to add one more signal-caller to their QB room.

Opening day starter Trey Lance is on his way at being fully recovered from his broken ankle in Week 2. Brock Purdy, meanwhile, isn’t expected to be healthy until training camp — which could mean he won’t start throwing until August. And, both Jimmy Garoppolo and Josh Johnson are unrestricted free agents — and both aren’t expected to return, with general manager John Lynch revealing the former has likely played his final game with the 49ers during an interview session with the media on February 28 at the combine.

The feeling around Mayfield, however, is that he wants to be at a place where he’s got a great chance of emerging as QB1. Other insiders and analysts believe the former Oklahoma Sooner is interested in another year with the Rams to remain in the Sean McVay offense while also giving L.A. some backup assurance behind Matthew Stafford, who’s also coming back from his own season-ending injury (spinal cord contusion).

Former Starter Also Mentioned as 49ers Backup Possibility

If it’s not Mayfield, Mason Rudolph could be an option according to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.

While the insider wrote how Mayfield’s name has been brought up with the 49ers when asking about the QB market, Fowler mentioned the free agent from the Pittsburgh Steelers as a possibility for the 49ers. Fowler wrote on Sunday, March 5:

“The Bucs and 49ers came up most often when I asked around about quarterback Baker Mayfield’s market. Tampa Bay is looking at bringing in a veteran arm. Drew Lock, who was the backup in Seattle last year, is also an option there. And the 49ers need veteran help due to injuries to Trey Lance and Brock Purdy. Mason Rudolph would also make some sense there.”

Rudolph has started in 10 games, going 5-4-1 overall as a starter. He has 2,366 career passing yards, 16 touchdown passes and 11 interceptions per Pro Football Reference.

But outside of free agent names sprouting up, the 49ers also used the combine in Indianapolis to inquire about QB ideas through the 2023 NFL Draft. Dorian Thompson-Robinson of UCLA per Jordan Elliott of SB Nation shared he had a “really good meeting” with the Niners.

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