Ever since the San Francisco 49ers traded up in the third round to draft QB C.J. Beathard, there's been an arrow on QB Matt Barkley's back.
Back in March, QB Brian Hoyer was signed to be the starter for the 49ers, while Barkley was added to presumably be the backup. In the NFL Draft, once the top quarterbacks flew off the board, many pundits thought there was no signal caller that could threaten the top two guys in San Francisco.
Yet, two weeks into the preseason and Beathard has seemingly passed Barkley on the depth chart and is even threatening the starting job in the minds of some fans.
So what's the need to keep Barkley on the 53-man roster? If Beathard hadn't impressed thus far, then the 49ers would need to keep Barkley as their backup and Beathard as their third-string QB on the 53-man roster. But, the rookie out of Iowa has done everything to earn the No. 2 job in San Francisco and shouldn't be going anywhere.
Although it's been against second and third-team defenses, Beathard has been 14-of-23 so far in the preseason for 211 yards, including three touchdowns and no interceptions. He's connected with fellow Iowa running mate TE George Kittle and WR Kendrick Bourne on long touchdown passes.
Beathard has been effective and a smooth operator of Kyle Shanahan's offense. This isn't to say that Beathard is going to step in and be the quarterback of the future, but he's earned the right to be the backup in his first two preseason performances.
On the other hand, Barkley is 11-of-19 for 178 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions. He's been somewhat effective moving the ball, but his drives haven't produced nearly the amount of points that Beathard's drives have.
The argument for cutting Barkley is more related to keeping another player at a pivotal position. Key position battles at WR and DL exist, with WR Victor Bolden Jr. and Bourne competing for a roster spot.
The defensive line depth has been replenished this past offseason, so it would be pointless to release a player to keep Barkley when he's not needed like he was when signed back in March.
The rise of CB3 -- that's what his new nickname is -- along with other position groups battling for roster spots, make it an easy decision to move on from Barkley.