The 49ers are poised to sign quarterback Brian Hoyer to a two-year deal when free agency officially begins Thursday, according to multiple reports, including one from the NFL Network.
Hoyer has long been linked to the 49ers because he played under San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan in 2014 when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Browns. His imminent signing seems to lessen the possibility the 49ers will trade for Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.
Hoyer, 31, completed just 55.3 percent of his passes in 2014, threw 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and finished with a lowly 76.5 passer rating. But the talent-starved Browns went 7-6 in his starts.
Last year in Chicago was the opposite. Hoyer posted a 98.0 passer rating and threw six touchdowns against zero interceptions in five starts. But the Bears won only one game in those starts and never scored more than 23 points.
The 49ers, meanwhile, currently have no quarterbacks signed for the upcoming season. Both of last year's starters, Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert, are, like Hoyer, scheduled to become free agents at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
The 49ers had been interested in Cousins, but they would have to send draft picks to Washington as well as sign Cousins to a hefty long-term deal. They could gamble that Cousins becomes an unrestricted free agent at this time next year, which still would require them to ink a long-term contract but would mean they could hold on to their draft picks.
The 49ers also could draft a quarterback in what, at this point at least, seems like a very promising 2018 draft class. Delaying their big quarterback decision until next year would require them to sign a quarterback this year who can start but who wouldn't preclude them from making a big move at the position next year.
Hoyer fits that description. Another one of Shanahan’s former quarterbacks, Matt Schaub, re-signed with the Falcons.