Niners Live is at it again, and this time we play the role of a fortune teller. Ok, not quite. However, we’ll think outside the box as we give fans a breakdown of the quarterback options at Coach Kyle Shanahan’s disposal.
The San Francisco 49ers have done some reshuffling of the front office with recent hires of new general manager John Lynch, vice president of player personnel Adam Peters, senior personnel executive Martin Mayhew, and have recently introduced their new head coach former Atlanta Falcons’ coordinator Kyle Shanahan, via the team’s website. So, what’s the next important move that needs to be addressed, personnel wise? Man, you guessed it: the quarterback.
Recently at Niners Live, we asked the question: Who would you draft? Kizer? Mahomes? Watson? Tribusky? As well as: Why the 49ers should steer clear and far away from QB Jay Cutler. Now we turn our attention and focus on a veteran group of signal caller quarterbacks: Brian Hoyer, Josh McCown, Colin Kaepernick, and Matt Schaub.
First up to bat: QB Matt Schaub
The 6’6” and 245lbs Schaub, who was originally drafted by his current team the Atlanta Falcons in the third round of the 2004 NFL Draft, will be going into his 14th season this year. The two-time Pro Bowler (2009, 2012) had arguably his best season under Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator in 2009 with the Houston Texans, throwing for 4,770 yards, 29 touchdowns while boasting a 67.9 completion percentage. Schaub has a career win-loss record of 47-45, 133 career touchdowns to 90 interceptions, a career completion percentage of 63.9, and in 2012 led the Texans to a 12-4 record and a playoff berth, eventually losing to the AFC champion New England Patriots. Per reports from ESPN Senior Writer Adam Schefter, quarterback Matt Schaub could be following former Atlanta Falcons’ offensive coordinator and new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers Kyle Shanahan if he was to have it his way, per league sources. Although nothing is guaranteed, his familiarity with Shanahan almost makes this a most likely scenario in the making.
Next up: QB Brian Hoyer
The 6’3” and 215lbs undrafted free agent by the New England Patriots in 2009 spent his first three seasons in the league under the tutelage of the now five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady and the great Bill Belichick. Newly named vice president of player personnel Adam Peters also had a hand in prospecting Hoyer as he spent the first part of his career as a scout in New England from 2003-2008. Hoyer had his most significant season in 2014 under then offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan and the Cleveland Browns, throwing for 3,326 yards, 12 touchdowns, and posting a 7-6 record as a starter that season. Hoyer’s career completion percentage is just under 60 percent at 59.5. He’s amassed 8,608 yards passing, 44 career touchdowns to 26 interceptions, and a record of 16-15 overall.
Hoyer is pegged as the third best option currently on the free agent 2017 market for quarterbacks with the Patriots, 49ers, Bears, and Falcons, all as potential suitors. Is this a very likely option? Probably more of a long shot for the 49ers as the Chicago Bears look poised to retain Hoyer’s services after, per reports by Jason La Canfora. They are almost certain to part ways with long-time starter Jay Cutler either by trading or releasing him. However, it’s still an option that could present its self-base on the weak free agent market.
Last man up: QB Josh McCown
McCown, if signed by the 49ers, will be in a familiar place with the 49ers where he was signed briefly to a one-year contract for the minimum of $810,000 on August 17, 2011, then released on September 3, 2011. The 6’3” and 215lbs journeyman was the third round draft pick of the Arizona Cardinals in 2002. McCown has had stints with the Detroit Lions, Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Cleveland Browns, cementing his legacy as a career backup.
McCown has amassed 14,242 yards passing, 79 touchdowns to 69 interceptions, and a career completion percentage of 59.1, making him a more than capable backup. He has made a living as a stop gap/bridge option and is a reliable backup, putting up some decent numbers over the past few seasons. In 2015. in just eight games, McCown mustered 2,109 yards, 12 touchdowns to four interceptions, and a 63.7 completion percentage. Owner Jed York has stressed the importance of culture, looking for the new 49ers regime to bring in a culture of winning; however, with that being said, McCown’s career win-loss record of 18-42 may not serve as a step in the right direction.
Bonus Feature: QB Colin Kaepernick
A lot of questions still surround the much-maligned Colin Kaepernick and his future with the 49ers. Will Kaepernick opt in? Or opt out? Well, contrary to a recent report from Adam Schefter of ESPN, the 49ers’ Colin Kaepernick is not a lock to opt out of his contract by the March 2nd deadline, a source close to the quarterback told Kevin Lynch of the San Francisco Chronicle. The numbers don’t lie. Kaepernick had one of his best statistical seasons in 2016. In 11 starts, he threw for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns with four interceptions. His passer rating was 90.7, his best rating since the 2013 season. He achieved this with a lackluster group of receivers and a painfully predictable passing attack. On the ground, he maintained his status as one of the most dangerous scrambling quarterbacks in the league this past season by accounting for 468 yards, at 6.8 yards per rush. It was his legs that secured the 49ers’ second win of the season on a two-point conversion to finalize a 15-point comeback versus the LA Rams in Week 16. Will the new regime roll the dice to put some respect back on Colin Kaepernick’s name? As recently discussed on Niners Live.
I leave you with this:
General Manager John Lynch, who’s been on the job for a few weeks, said Kaepernick “reached out” and the 49ers will meet with him once they get a better feel for their personnel plans. Shanahan said in his introduction as the 49ers new head coach he needs to study films of Kaepernick and of the 49ers’ offensive players, and that’s at the top his to-do list. “Colin, just like any other player, is someone I’m going to be watching a lot of tape on over these next few weeks.” Before we can consider any free agency, draft, you have to know what the players on your team are. Via Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com.
Well, let’s assume for a second that Shanahan isn’t 100% sold on Kapernick. He can still elect to keep him on the roster and, at the very least, he can opt to bring in a veteran quarterback who knows his system, and who can compete against Kaepernick and help groom a highly drafted quarterback in this year’s 2017 NFL Draft, à la Matt Schaub. The one certain thing is the quarterback carousel will be one to watch closely with your #eyeswideopen.
Disclaimer: This article isn’t an endorsement of Brian Hoyer or any other quarterback mentioned in this article—let that be clear. This article is about forecasting what Kyle Shanahan may or may not do and his realistic options left on the free-agent market, via Niners Live excluding Kirk Cousins, Jay Cutler as aforementioned, and trading Jimmy Garoppolo by way of high compensation of at least a first round pick and a fourth seems highly unlikely by the 49ers.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Irvin Johnson Staff Writer at Niners Live. Co-Author, Editor Niners Live.