The San Francisco 49ers made a flurry of free agency moves on Wednesday. Among them was the acquisition of Brian Hoyer, as they signed Hoyer to a two-year deal. By signing Hoyer this early in, general manager John Lynch is already showing veteran GM skills his first month on the job.
The 49ers’ main focus for the 2017 off-season is the pursuit of Washington’s Kirk Cousins. Cousins and Washington have not been able to strike terms on a deal. This comes from Cousins taking umbrage with two franchise tags with no indication that he will be Washington’s QB long term. The 49ers and Cousins are connected via former Washington OC Kyle Shanahan. It seems like the perfect fit, but the sides are seemingly still hammering out details. Snagging Hoyer is prudent, as Hoyer will fit well no matter who else ends up on the roster.
If the 49ers snag Cousins, which Mike Silver says is “more likely than not” going to happen, then Hoyer is a great backup. He can step right into Shanahan’s system due to his familiarity with it from their time in Cleveland. This means that Shanahan won’t have to dedicate time teaching his quarterback(s) his system. They’ll step right in and act as second and third head coaches. Another issue with the backup quarterback in most systems is that the first-team QB gets all the reps, leaving the backup in the cold if he has to step in for the starter. Hoyer mitigates this issue in the event the San Francisco 49ers sign Cousins.
If the 49ers don’t snag Cousins and go after a QB in the draft, then his familiarity with the Shanahan offense will allow Hoyer to mentor the young gun. Hoyer also is competent as a starter, if unspectacular. This will allow the 49ers to start Hoyer for the whole season (if need be) while the pup gets the Shanahan offense under his belt. There’s no wasted effort teaching it to the starter and the backup. Hoyer becomes a learning resource.
Finally, if the 49ers don’t land Cousins, and don’t get a QB in the draft they want to start immediately. That’s okay. Hoyer is the quintessential stop-gap quarterback. The Cousins-Washington relationship is deteriorating fast. They have to tag him a third time to keep him in Washington in 2018. That won’t happen. He can, and will be a 49er next season, and Hoyer will get the 49ers through this rebuilding year.
While John Lynch is learning on the job, there’s no doubt his first quarterback move was a savvy one. The 49ers had zero quarterbacks on the roster, and Hoyer gives them one. One that does not shoehorn them into any specific moves with the rest of the QB room. John Lynch signing Brian Hoyer gives him the flexibility to keep his options open at quarterback. That is a savvy vet move from a rookie GM, which bodes well for the future of the San Francisco 49ers.