As the San Francisco 49ers' quarterback room becomes more solid, Jimmy Garoppolo's future with the team becomes murkier.
The 49ers anounced Wednesday that they've signed journeyman quarterback Nate Sudfeld on a one-year deal. Sudfeld previously spent four seasons as a backup with the Philadelphia Eagles, playing in just four games after being drafted by Washington in 2016.
Signing Sudfeld gives the 49ers four total quarterbacks, including current starter Jimmy Garoppolo, Josh Rosen and Josh Johnson. Rosen is a former first-round pick whose career has arguably floundered so far, while Johnson is a veteran reserve.
Four quarterbacks is a high number for NFL teams; typically, they will keep three at most, with a third likely staying on the practice squad barring injuries. So what does that mean for the future of Jimmy Garoppolo, who is currently marred by trade rumors?
What is Jimmy Garoppolo's future with the 49ers?
While it is simply conjecture at this point, the 49ers' signing of Sudfeld could be seen as a sign of things to come in San Francisco.
Sudfeld is the only 49ers quarterback who has guaranteed 2021 money on his contract, according to The Athletic's David Lombardi. That would make it much easier for the 49ers to part ways with Jimmy Garoppolo, Rosen or Johnson.
And with the high number of quarterbacks on their roster, the Sudfeld signing could be an indication that the 49ers are bracing to lose at least one, perhaps Garoppolo.
The 49ers recently acquired the third overall pick in the upcoming draft, and most fans and analysts expect they will use that spot to select a quarterback, throwing Garoppolo's future with the team even further into question. If they draft a rookie quarterback, they will surely let one current signal-caller walk.
Recent reports claim the 49ers are asking other teams for a first-round pick in exchange for Garoppolo. That's because they hold all the cards; the 49ers know multiple teams would likely want Garoppolo, and since they don't owe him any guaranteed money, they can fully evaluate and make a decision on his future that will best benefit the franchise.
Sudfeld may only serve as a backup with the 49ers at best, but their signing of him indicates the franchise is heavily considering the future of its quarterback room. Whether or not Jimmy Garoppolo will be part of that future is yet to be seen.