KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kyle Shanahan said he believes the 49ers have three NFL quarterbacks, and they aren’t just going to let some team have one of them for nothing.
Following the 49ers’ 27-17 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in the third preseason game for both teams, the coach said Saturday night that he plans for starter Jimmy Garoppolo and reserves Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard to be on San Francisco’s 53-man roster when the regular season begins in two weeks.
The message was sent that if another team — like the suddenly Andrew Luck-less Indianapolis Colts — wants Mullens or Beathard, it will have to pay something in return.
Mullens completed 8 of 11 passes for 84 yards Saturday. Beathard did not play, but he figures to see a lot of action in Thursday’s preseason finale against the Los Angeles Chargers.
“We have three very good quarterbacks,” Shanahan said. “We plan on having three this year. But just like every other person on our roster, if someone thinks there’s a way to upgrade our team, we’ll always listen.
“We’re not ever going to just get rid of NFL players. And I know we have three NFL quarterbacks who can help us.”
The 49ers haven't kept three quarterbacks at the start of the regular season in Shanahan’s two previous years as coach. Garoppolo, Mullens and Beathard all have NFL starting experience.
On the surface, it would appear the 49ers will have a difficult time keeping three quarterbacks to open the season because of injuries to such players as running back Jerick McKinnon, wide receiver Trent Taylor, center Weston Richburg, defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, and cornerback Jason Verrett.
The 49ers might have to carry an extra player at other positions to compensate for the injuries during the early part of the season.
“It’s very rough," Shanahan said. "That’s why it’s tough decisions. But that’s something when you have three NFL quarterbacks, they’re not easy to come by, regardless of where you draft them or anything.
“When you have that, you don’t just give that away. That’s something that takes years to find.”
The Colts could be in the quarterback market because of Luck’s surprise retirement announcement Saturday night.
“I was just told about Luck before I came in here, and it probably shocked me as much as everyone,” Shanahan said. “He’s one of the best guys in our league and one of the most impressive people I’ve been around, just going through the interview process and stuff. I’m sure he has a very good reason and everything, but, yeah, that was crazy to just hear that.”