I have been hearing a lot of chatter about what we should do with Nick Mullens. Many fans want to trade him if we can get a draft pick for him, or even swap him for another player that is more of an immediate need for us. On the other side of the coin, many fans want to keep him around, just in case Jimmy Garoppolo gets injured again next season. There are multiple different factors that play into either decision, and they both have their pros and cons.
Case for Trading Mullens
The reason it’s impossible to say whether or not we should trade Nick Mullens at this point, is because obviously, it depends on what the other team is willing to give us. While player for player trades are rare in the NFL, the 49ers have a lot of needs that are more pertinent than QB right now, and the draft is generally a great place to find those missing pieces. If the 49ers are able to get a 2nd round pick, or an arrangement along the lines of a 3rd and a 5th round pick for Mullens, that could go a long way towards helping this team get to where they want to be. It is pretty much accepted, at this point, that San Francisco will be going after a pass rusher in the first round of this year’s draft. After that, there are numerous needs the 49ers must address, including cornerback, safety, and wide receiver. Having an extra pick or two would allow the 49ers to go after positions that are weak right now, and could bring in guys who could be day one starters. While having a solid backup quarterback can be a huge asset at the right time(ahem, last year’s Super Bowl champs), it’s not as important as having solidified starters all year. If we are able to add help on the secondary, or get a big bodied wide receiver who can be a nice opposite of Marquis Goodwin, with Dante Pettis in the slot. Having that help for Jimmy G or our defense would be an immediate help, and could help us contend for the playoffs next year.
Case for keeping Mullens as our backup
As I mentioned earlier, the obvious reason a team would like to have a competent backup was seen last year, when Nick Foles led the Eagles to a Superbowl win. This season has also shown us Niner fans the importance of having a capable backup, as CJ Beathard really shit the bed this year and obliterated any hope we had of having even a remotely successful year. Unless we get an offer we can not refuse, having Nick Mullens as a security plan would be a great relief if Garoppolo was forced to miss some action next year. We saw it at the beginning of this year when Nick Foles started the first couple games for the Eagles, and was able to keep them competitive. Knee injuries can take a loooong time to heal and can be very unpredictable, so to have someone who understands Shanahan’s complex offense and has experience in it would be a HUGE asset.
In all, there are benefits to both scenarios, but unless someone is willing to part with a second round pick or better, I would love to see Mullens stick around and help out however he can next season.