The writing has been on the wall for a while now, but Jim Harbaugh made it official on Thursday.
Colin Kaepernick will be the 49ers’ backup quarterback when the regular season gets underway. Kaepernick was expected to battle newcomer Josh Johnson, who played for Harbaugh in college, for the backup job this summer, but no competition really emerged as Kaepernick started in the No. 2 role and will remain there after Harbaugh’s announcement, which comes via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group.
Kaepernick, a second-round pick in 2011, has completed 9-of-17 passes for 59 yards in the first two preseason games, numbers that aren’t any more impressive than what Johnson or Scott Tolzien have done during their own playing time. He has run for 104 yards, including a 78-yard touchdown scamper on a read option play, and the 49ers may want to avail themselves of his running ability at some point this season.
Unless the 49ers decide to go with four quarterbacks this year, Johnson and Tolzien will now be fighting for one roster spot. If one of them does get cut, they would likely stand a good chance of catching on elsewhere as teams reshuffle their rosters in the wake of cutdown day.