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With Gabbert struggling, what will 49ers do behind Kaepernick?

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014
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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) passes against the Denver Broncos during the first half of an NFL preseason football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

When the Jacksonville Jaguars sent Blaine Gabbert to the San Francisco 49ers in the spring, it was easy to say that they sold the former top-10 pick for pennies on the dollar. Now it looks like the Jaguars fleeced them.

Gabbert has been awful in the preseason in his attempt to win the 49ers' backup job, which once was thought to be a sure thing, behind Colin Kaepernick. Through two games, Gabbert is 11-of-25 passing (44 percent) for 60 yards with two interceptions.

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Yet head coach Jim Harbaugh remains unconcerned. He said there are no plans to seek another quarterback.

In the 49ers' second preseason game Sunday against the Denver Broncos, Gabbert was 8-of-14 for 40 yards — all on short completions. The one time he drove the ball downfield, Gabbert was picked. He also gunned a short pass to a wide-open Jewel Hampton on what should have been an easy completion that ended up behind the receiver, tipped in the air and almost picked off as well.

The problem with Gabbert is that he's guaranteed $2 million this year. Can the 49ers afford to cut him?

Prior to the Broncos game, Harbaugh said he was pleased with the way Gabbert had played up to that point. 

"He had a couple very good throws," Harbaugh said Friday, per CSN Bay Area. "He missed a couple, as we said right after the game. It was a good first step, and he's continuing to compete well. I thought he did in the game and continued to do that in the process of the preseason and training camp. [I] feel good about the way he's coming along."

But now?

The problem is that No. 3 option Josh Johnson, who played for Harbaugh at the University of San Diego, has struggled as well. No. 4 quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who hasn't taken a regular-season NFL snap, was picked against the Broncos, too.

It's possible that the 49ers' eventual backup is now playing for another team. That makes protecting Kaepernick all the more vital.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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