(USA Today Sports Images)Colt McCoy hoped to play well in the 49ers' preseason game against the Vikings Sunday night for one of two reasons. He either wanted to prove that he deserved to be on the roster, or perhaps boost his trade value to a team that actually wants him.
McCoy appeared on the surface to have failed at both. But looks can be deceiving. Despite a sub-par performance, McCoy apparently has won the backup job. So said head coach Jim Harbaugh after the game.
#49ers QB Colt McCoy said he restructured his contract Saturday night. Named backup QB by Harbaugh tonight.
— Eric Branch (@Eric_Branch) August 26, 2013
Rumors had whirled prior to the game about McCoy's future in San Francisco after the 49ers added Seneca Wallace, their fifth quarterback, to the roster. But the first part of Branch's tweet — the part about McCoy restructuring his deal — likely helped firm up McCoy staying in San Fran.
After Colin Kaepernick's night was done against the Vikings, McCoy entered midway through the second quarter and actually got into a rhythm, hitting a few high-percentage passes and escaping heavy pressure a few times. But Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway hoodwinked McCoy by faking a blitz and dropping into coverage, snagging his fifth pass of the game and intercepting it.
The 49ers appeared to be calling a fairly vanilla game with a lot of safe passes for McCoy, perhaps wanting to boost his confidence — and, simultaneously, his trade value. Although he finished 11-for-15 passing, he threw for only 109 yards (with several of those coming after the catch) and was sacked once. McCoy's best throw of the night was a nice touch pass downfield for 19 yards to new receiver Jon Baldwin.
Now what happens to the other quarterbacks on the roster? Seventh-rounder B.J. Daniels replaced McCoy and continued his solid play this summer; he appears to be a greener version of Kaepernick, perhaps without the "wow" traits. And whither Wallace? Might the 49ers consider keeping four quarterbacks considering that Wallace also has flexibility as a receiver? (Sorry, Scott Tolzien. We're counting you out here.)
With the former Heisman runner-up and national champion at Texas apparently assured of a roster spot, there is some real intrigue about what the 49ers will do. Yes, one of the hallmarks of this 49ers regime is knowing when to turn the page. They dumped 2012 first-rounder A.J. Jenkins in a deal for Baldwin. But after trading two draft picks (a fifth and a seventh) for McCoy and a sixth-rounder, the 49ers apparently want to keep him around a little longer.