Nick Mullens doesn't take "no" for an answer. A non-drafted quarterback in 2018, Mullens overcame the odds and made San Francisco's roster and then overcame even more odds to start 16 games in three seasons, throwing for more than 4,000 yards in his 19 overall games before an elbow injury in the December 2020 49ers' Week 15 41-33 defeat against the Cowboys required him to have surgery and miss the final two games of the campaign.
He has made great progress in his recovery, again defying anyone who said "no" to his return to the NFL. The Eagles are giving Mullens a chance to compete in a talented quarterback room, having agreed to terms with Mullens on a one-year deal, the team announced on Monday.
In three seasons with the 49ers, Mullens has appeared in 19 games with 16 starts. He completed 387 of 600 pass attempts (64.5 percent) for 4,714 yards with 25 touchdowns and 22 interceptions. Prior to that final 2020 start against Dallas, Mullens had posted some special numbers: His 4,186 passing yards were third among all quarterbacks through their first 15 starts in the Super Bowl era. Against Dallas, Mullens completed 21 of 36 passes for 219 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions before suffering the elbow injury.
Mullens started 12 games last season and passed for more than 200 yards in every start, and twice went over the 300-yard mark. In his first start of 2020, Mullens went 25-of-36 for 343 yards and a touchdown in a win over the New York Giants. That led Mullens to a Football Night in America game against the Eagles. He tossed an interception that linebacker Alex Singleton returned for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter, finishing his night after Mullens completed 18 of 26 passes for 200 yards, one score, and two interceptions.
The Southern Mississippi product joins Jalen Hurts and Joe Flacco in the Eagles' quarterback room, one that will be a focal point when the players return to the NovaCare Complex in late July for Training Camp. Head Coach Nick Sirianni has stressed the importance of competition and the quarterback room will certainly have that led by Hurts, in his second season, buffeted by the experience and talent of the big-armed Flacco and now complemented by Mullens, who has made himself into a productive NFL quarterback because of his study habits, smarts, and resiliency.
In 2018, Mullens impressed the 49ers in his rookie season, leading the team to a 34-3 win over the Raiders when he completed 16 of 22 passes for 262 yards and three touchdowns in his first NFL action. After the game, running back Matt Breida gushed about Mullens.
"I tried to tell you guys earlier in the week that he is just a baller. He comes to work every day and he is just in his book. If you guys come in and see him, he is at his locker in his book every week and now it is finally paying off for him," Breida told reporters. "That is what he does. He is ready for big moments anytime. He is going to be a great quarterback in this league when he gets his shot. I have seen it all week in practice, making all the right reads and making the correct passes. It showed today in the game."
Mullens compiled a 3-5 record for the 49ers playing in place of an injured Jimmy Garoppolo, with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He passed for 414 yards against Seattle and came back the next week with two TD throws and 332 passing yards in a win over Denver. In each of Mullens' 16 career starts, he has passed for more than 200 yards.