Jack Coan

49ers Likely To Carry Three QBs; Brock Purdy Ramps Up Throwing Program

The 49ers closed last season with only Josh Johnson backing up Brock Purdy, moving to that two-quarterback setup after Jimmy Garoppolo‘s foot injury. That approach’s conclusion ended up leading to the NFL changing the rules regarding QB availability.

Going into this year, the 49ers will likely take a more conventional approach. They are prepared to carry three quarterbacks on their active roster, Matt Barrows of The Athletic notes (subscription required).

San Francisco’s offseason roster houses four quarterbacks — Purdy, Trey Lance, Sam Darnold, Brandon Allen — and the team just worked out recent XFL arm Jack Coan (along with four-year veteran wide receiver Jason Moore), KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson tweets. With a four-QB arrangement rarely used during the regular season, one of the team’s current four passers will not be on the active roster once the team sets it August 29. This does invite questions regarding Lance and Darnold coexisting, but Allen could make sense as a practice squad option.

Despite Allen spending the past three years as Joe Burrow‘s Bengals backup, he landed with the 49ers midway through the offseason. Allen would pass straight to free agency if cut in late August, opening the door for a spot on San Francisco’s 16-man P-squad. It is possible another team would view the veteran backup as a second- or third-string candidate, however. In the event the 49ers do pull the trigger on a Lance trade — a rumored scenario earlier this offseason, though John Lynch has veered in the other direction as of late — Allen makes sense as their third-stringer.

He’s obviously not just a camp arm around this league,” Shanahan said of Allen. “He’s been a backup for a while.”

Allen, 30, is going into his eighth NFL season. For now, Lance and Darnold are splitting first-team reps while Purdy recovers. But after the events of last season, the 49ers could carry three QBs on their active roster and have an insurance option on the P-squad.

Lance went down in Week 2 of last season and underwent two ankle surgeries, while Garoppolo’s Bay Area run coming to an end in early December. The latter issue led to a March surgery, which has affected the Raiders’ 2023 plans. Purdy’s UCL tear did not lead to Tommy John surgery, but it has still thrust the 49ers into another offseason headlined by post-surgery rehab. Garoppolo came back from shoulder surgery last year, moving off the trade block and into the role of Lance’s backup. Johnson, signed off the Broncos’ practice squad after Garoppolo’s injury, suffered a concussion that brought a severely compromised Purdy back into the NFC championship game. Last month, the NFL approved the return of the emergency QB rule, which allows for teams to designate a non-active-roster passer as its game-day emergency option — only in the event its top two QBs go down.

This scenario opens the door to the strange proposition of Lance or Darnold not dressing but being an emergency option. Purdy continues to look like he will not need a stay on the reserve/PUP list to start the season. Although the second-year passer’s rehab timetable may still threaten his regular-season availability, the 49ers will likely play it week to week and keep Purdy on their 53-man roster in that case. Not long after beginning to throw post-surgery, Purdy has ramped up his throwing program to three times per week, Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News notes.

Considered ahead of schedule in his recovery from an internal brace procedure, Purdy remains in the driver’s seat to start for the 49ers. Training camp will provide a better indication of Darnold or Lance’s capabilities at unseating last year’s Mr. Irrelevant, but for the time being, Purdy’s grip on the job remains firm.

NFL Workout Rumors: Dolphins QBs, Jarwin

The Dolphins hosted a workout today including some interesting free agent names, according to Aaron Wilson of KPRC2. The tryout included quarterbacks Kyle Lauletta and Jack Coan and wide receivers Isaiah Coulter and Tarik Black.

Lauletta was a fourth-round draft pick for the Giants back in 2018. He spent one season in New York as Eli Manning‘s backup and, in his lone NFL appearance, threw five incompletions including an interception. Lauletta spent the next few seasons on offseason and practice squad rosters for the Eagles, Falcons, Browns (twice), and Jaguars. Most recently, Lauletta was the seventh overall pick in the 2022 USFL Draft, going to the Pittsburgh Maulers where he would start two games for one of the league’s worst teams. On a team that started four different quarterbacks over the year, Lauletta completed 31 of 63 pass attempts for 269 yards, adding 18 rushing yards on three carries. He was claimed off waivers by the New Jersey Generals but, with the USFL season over, he is available to audition for NFL teams.

Coan signed with the Colts as an undrafted rookie this past offseason after a strong collegiate career at Wisconsin and Notre Dame. He failed to make the Colts initial 53-man roster, getting waived in final roster cuts. He has since been drafted by the San Antonio Brahmas in the 2023 XFL Draft. The audition of multiple quarterbacks has some underlying concern as starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa deals with more concussion issues.

Coulter is a former fifth-round pick by the Texans out of Rhode Island in 2020. He spent the first half of his rookie season on injured reserve and was eventually waived before the 2021 season. Coulter would sign with the Bears, remaining a presence on the team’s practice squad from then until November 1 of this season. He would rebound again after being released, signing to the Bills practice squad before getting released once again earlier this month.

Black went undrafted in 2021 after a shortened senior year at Texas. Black had transferred to Austin after three years at Michigan where he had to compete for targets with Nico Collins and Donovan Peoples-Jones. Unfortunately for Black, a worldwide pandemic would lead to a shortened 2020 season, giving him only six games of production as a Longhorn. Black signed as an undrafted free agent with the Colts and started the season on their practice squad. After getting released midseason, Black would eventually join the Jets on the practice squad. He was called up last year for a game against the Bills, in which he would secure his first NFL catch.

Here is another workout rumor concerning a former Cowboys backup tight end trying out for a division rival:

  • Earlier this week, free agent tight end Blake Jarwin auditioned with the Eagles, according to ESPN’s Field Yates. Jarwin signed with Dallas as an undrafted free agent in 2017 and, after retirements by Jason Witten and James Hanna the following year, became the primary backup to Geoff Swaim. Jarwin ran with the opportunity, leading the team’s tight ends in receiving yards that season and serving as Witten’s primary backup when the veteran unretired in 2019. The Cowboys signed Jarwin to a three-year, $24.25MM deal with the intention to start him following Witten’s re-retirement, but ACL surgery after the season opener would end his season after only one game. After missing much of last season, as well, due to hip injuries, Jarwin was released. This is Jarwin’s first sniff of free agency since being released. The Eagles have some depth and youth at tight end behind starter Dallas Goedert with second year tight ends Jack Stoll and Tyree Jackson (currently on IR) and rookie sixth-round pick Grant Calcaterra. If Jarwin can get back to his 2018-19 form, he could provide an upgrade over the receiving numbers Stoll and Calcaterra have put up so far this season.

Colts Cut Roster Down To 53

Indianapolis has made a couple headline moves, but, most notably, succeeded in trimming their roster down to 53 players today. Here are the moves that helped them get down to the limit today:

Activated from active/physically unable to perform:



Placed on IR:

The biggest stories of the day for the Colts come in the linebacking corps. In addition to adding star linebacker Leonard off the PUP, Indianapolis acquired second-year player Grant Stuard in a trade with Tampa Bay today. Stuard was primarily a special teamer with the Buccaneers last year, playing in every game as a rookie. He’ll go from one stacked linebacker room to another, likely backing up Leonard upon his arrival.

The Colts have quite an interesting rookie class. A sixth-round defensive tackle, Brooks is the only drafted rookie not to make the final roster besides sixth-round tight end Andrew Ogletree who will start his NFL career on injured reserve. None of this is spectacular, though. The interesting part is that Indianapolis will roster four undrafted rookies to start the 2022 NFL season.

Former SMU safety Trevor Denbow finds his way onto the initial 53 after leading the NFL this preseason with five special teams tackles. Cornerback Dallis Flowers can also thank his special teams value as his athleticism was supplemented by a 53-yard kickoff return to help him make the team out of Pitt State. Former Cornhusker JoJo Domann joins Leonard and Stuard in the linebackers room. And the French-Fries offensive line combination stays alive as Wesley French makes the final roster out of Western Michigan.

There were a number of other players who have special teams’ ability to thank for their roster spot in addition to Denbow and Flowers. Running back Deon Jackson played on all punt/kick return/coverage units for the Colts last year, earning him a tightly contested roster spot over Lindsay and Williams. Cornerback Tony Brown was the team’s highest-graded special teams player in the preseason, according to Pro Football Focus, and safety Rodney Thomas II played the third-most special teams snaps on the team.

Finally, the biggest performer of the Colts’ preseason was likely quarterback Sam Ehlinger whose stellar preseason led Indianapolis to roster three quarterbacks going into the season. The former-Longhorn’s impressive preseason play helped him earn a spot on the initial roster despite the Colts already rostering starter Matt Ryan and one of the league’s top backup quarterbacks in Nick Foles.

The Colts will have the opportunity tomorrow to announce any moves to form their 16-man practice squad. Players cut today who have not vested will have to clear waivers before returning to the team.