Leading Off

Leading Off: Would 49ers bring in Patriots’ backup QB?

Do you know who Ryan Mallett is?

You’re not the only one. For all anyone knows, Mallett is Nathan Lane’s understudy in a Broadway musical.

Actually, that’s pretty close.

For the past three NFL seasons, he’s been Tom Brady’s backup with the New England Patriots, which is to say he wears a baseball cap for a living more than he does a football helmet.

But this offseason, the Patriots used a second-round pick to draft quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo out of Eastern Illinois with the belief he could someday be the heir to Brady, the future Hall of Famer.

And there’s also a belief in New England that the Patriots will keep just two quarterbacks, which doesn’t add up well for Mallett.

Mallett, a 6-foot-7, 253-pound, strong-arm quarterback, has watched and learned from one of the NFL’s best. He’s shown glimpses of being a fine quarterback when he’s played, but he hasn’t had much of a chance.

If Mallett is released by the Patriots, should the 49ers give him an opportunity?

Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers’ coach, says he’s happy with $2 million backup Blaine Gabbert, along with Josh Johnson and McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who played at Sacramento State. But the three backups have combined for zero touchdowns, four interceptions and three sacks in two preseason games.

Harbaugh must see positive things in practices that 49ers fans haven’t seen in games.

If Colin Kaepernick goes down with an injury that takes him out of lineup, the 49ers would be in a world of hurt.

The Patriots, an perennial Super Bowl contender, trusted Mallett to be their quarterback if Brady had gotten injured. Why wouldn’t the 49ers take a look if Mallett becomes available?

– Victor Contreras

vcontreras@sacbee.com


Today’s poll

Who should be the 49ers’ backup quarterback ?

• McLeod Bethel-Thompson



• Blaine Gabbert



• Josh Johnson



• Other



Vote above, or go to sacbee.com/sports


Wednesday’s results

Will the Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins and/or Rudy Gay make Team USA ?

• Cousins: 11%



• Gay: 26%



• Both: 39%



• Neither: 24%



Total votes: 382

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