C.J. Beathard

49ers inactives: Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis won't play vs. Saints

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49ers inactives: Marquise Goodwin, Dante Pettis won't play vs. Saints

The 49ers' receiving corps will be thin Sunday against the New Orleans Saints. 

Marquise Goodwin (knee, foot) and Dante Pettis (knee) were among San Francisco's inactive players heading into Sunday's game in New Orleans, leaving the 49ers with just four active wide receivers for Week 14. 

Goodwin and Pettis were listed as questionable heading into Sunday after practicing on a limited basis Friday. None of the other inactives were much of a surprise, given the 49ers' log jam at running back and known injuries to safety Jacquiski Tartt and defensive tackle Jullian Taylor. 

[RELATED: 49ers' pass rush returns to 'fun' style of play vs. Saints]

Left tackle Joe Staley will be active for the first time since Week 9 after undergoing surgery to repair a fractured and dislocated finger. It will only be Staley's fourth game this season, as he also missed much of the season with a broken fibula. The 49ers' active-roster decisions, then, should provide Staley some cover. 

The 49ers will hope he doesn't need it against Cam Jordan and the Saints' formidable defense. 

49ers using Richie James to imitate, plan for Ravens' Lamar Jackson

49ers using Richie James to imitate, plan for Ravens' Lamar Jackson

SANTA CLARA -- Just a few weeks ago, cornerback Richard Sherman spilled the beans that 49ers backup quarterback C.J. Beathard strained his back while imitating Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray on the scout team prior to their game against Arizona. 

As the 49ers prepare to face Lamar Jackson, the team went a different direction and will use wide receiver Richie James to play the role of the dynamic Ravens quarterback. Even though James is a leftie and Jackson is not, the receiver’s mobility will be effective in imitating the MVP candidate. 

“Taking me back to my old days,” James told NBC Sports Bay Area. “I guess that’s what they are trying to do. I’m trying to figure it out now as we speak. About to take some snaps right now.”  

James has been the primary returner this season, averaging 7.9 yards per punt return and 22.9 yards for each kick return. That shiftiness makes him a great candidate to imitate Jackson, but James knows that those are big shoes to fill. 

“Just [going to] be myself,” James said. “He’s a one-of-a-kind, so you can only be yourself. I’m already a dynamic player, so just the more dynamic I can be.”  

Jackson is quite a bit larger than James, who is nearly 30 pounds lighter and five inches shorter than the Baltimore signal-caller. Still, the wideout’s history will serve him well as he takes on his new role for the week. 

"I was 80-percent run and 20-percent pass,” James said of his high school quarterback days. “It’s going to work for today because that’s kind of what they do now. They run a lot. So I’m expecting to run, continue to run. It’s going to be interesting." 

[RELATED: History says either 49ers or Ravens will make Super Bowl]

Jimmy Garoppolo thought the choice was appropriate -- as long as James can get the ball out. 

“We’ll see how he can throw,” Garoppolo said with a smile. “I know Richie is athletic as can be. I think he’s a leftie, so we’ll see how he can throw it today.”

NFL trade deadline: Could 49ers, Bears make C.J. Beathard-Taylor Gabriel swap?

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NFL trade deadline: Could 49ers, Bears make C.J. Beathard-Taylor Gabriel swap?

Tuesday's NFL trade deadline is fast approaching, and 49ers quarterback C.J. Beathard soon will know his fate one way or the other.

Beathard fell to third on the 49ers' depth chart this preseason after losing the backup QB competition to Nick Mullens, and San Francisco has kept three signal-callers on its roster since then. Coach Kyle Shanahan said in August that the plan all along was to have three QBs, and a source told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco on Sunday that the 49ers have received less-than-satisfactory offers in the "sixth-round range" for Beathard.

So, could a player-for-player swap entice the 49ers to part with the 2017 third-round draft pick?

ESPN's Adam Schefter spoke with "Kap & Co." on WMVP-AM in Chicago on Monday, and was asked if the 3-4 Bears could be a landing spot for Beathard, considering 2017 first-round pick Mitchell Trubisky's struggles. Schefter, who later noted he was "just spit-balling" and "sure that's probably not a trade that could happen," wondered if the Bears would trade wide receiver Taylor Gabriel for Beathard.

"[49ers coach] Kyle Shanahan knows how to use Taylor Gabriel as well as anybody," Schefter said. "They're winning, and Taylor Gabriel would be dangerous in that offense."

Two of Gabriel's three most prolific seasons came with Shanahan as his offensive coordinator. Gabriel caught 36 passes for 621 yards in 2014 as a rookie with the Cleveland Browns, and he later grabbed 35 balls for 579 yards and a career-high six touchdowns with the Super Bowl-bound Atlanta Falcons in 2016. He caught a career-high 67 passes for 688 yards last season, but Gabriel has just 14 receptions for 169 yards through five games with the Bears this season.

The 49ers upgraded their receiving corps last week when they traded for Emmanuel Sanders, but there's still some uncertainty on their depth chart. Injured receivers Jalen Hurd and Trent Taylor might not come back at all this season. and no wideout other than Sanders had more than three targets in Sunday's win over the Carolina Panthers.

Gabriel's contract isn't guaranteed beyond this season, so the 49ers still would have flexibility this offseason -- just as acquiring pending free agent Sanders did.

[RELATED: Why Sherman hasn't been surprised by Bosa's unreal start?]

Schefter couched his speculation enough to throw ice-cold water on even the thought of a Gabriel-Beathard swap. However, it's also worth noting that Shanahan and the 49ers are very high on Beathard, who was the first QB selected by Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. Plus, the 49ers' complement of pass-catching running backs alongside Sanders gives quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo a good number of options in the passing game, even if the receiving corps lacks experience. The 49ers also used second-round picks on Dante Pettis and Deebo Samuel in each of the last two years, and would like to see them continue to develop.

The 49ers are 7-0 ahead of the trade deadline, so they don't have too many pressing roster questions to answer. Their third-string QB's status is just about as close as it gets, and it remains to be seen if a team will match the 49ers' asking price.