San Francisco 49ers

Jed York: 49ers will keep ‘taking shots’ at finding next great quarterback

Jed York said the 49ers won’t “stop taking shots” at quarterback until they find the player capable of taking them to another Super Bowl.

Appearing on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football” on Wednesday, the team’s CEO noted that even though the Seattle Seahawks signed quarterback Matt Flynn to a big free-agent deal in 2012, it didn’t stop them from drafting Russell Wilson in the third round later that year. Wilson quickly took over as the starter and led the team to its only Super Bowl victory the next season.

“That’s a position that, until you get your guy, you have to keep taking shots,” York said. “As much as we compete with the guys up north, they did that very well. They signed Flynn to a big contract, but then they still draft one that they like who happens to be Russell Wilson. Until you’re set, you can never stop taking shots to get your guy at quarterback, because that’s ultimately what drives this league.”

Earlier this year, the 49ers signed Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley to be the starter and backup this season. Last week, they used a late third-round pick on Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard.

York said he trusted head coach Kyle Shanahan to find the right passer and referred to Hoyer as a “good” quarterback.

“He’s done a great job with Brian Hoyer in the past,” York noted. “And he’s going to continue to do a great job with Brian. Brian has grown in his career, and I think he’s ready to be a good quarterback for us.”

The 49ers are expected to make a strong push for Kirk Cousins in March if the Washington Redskins quarterback becomes an unrestricted free agent.

In his question to York, co-host Peter Schrager noted that the 49ers have been synonymous with quarterbacks and listed Joe Montana, Steve Young, Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith as examples.

One of those players, Kaepernick, led the 49ers to the Super Bowl the year before Wilson and the Seahawks won it. He remains unsigned while Blaine Gabbert, who took over the starting role from Kaepernick in 2015 only to lose it to him a year later, will get a tryout with the Arizona Cardinals, according to several reports this week.

Hikutini coveted – It turns out that Reuben Foster isn’t the only player the 49ers snatched from the New Orleans Saints.

In a follow-up to his draft story about the 49ers, MMQB’s Peter King wrote Wednesday about the team’s pursuit of tight end Cole Hikutini after the draft, someone the 49ers thought could be a good “move” tight end in Shanahan’s system.

Hikutini, a Sacramento native who spent the last two years at Lousiville, received five calls on Saturday from tight ends coach Jon Embree, two from Shanahan and another from general manager John Lynch. At the same time, he was getting calls from Saints coach Sean Payton, presumably urging him to go to New Orleans.

Hikutini last year led Louisville with 50 catches, eight touchdown receptions and finished second in receiving yards with 668. He went undrafted, in part, because he ran a slow, 4.85-second 40-yard dash, something the 49ers attributed to a knee injury suffered in Louisville’s bowl game.

In the end, the 49ers landed Hikutini with a strong contract offer, including a $10,000 signing bonus, as well as the opportunity for a roster spot. The 49ers acknowledged trying to trade their starting “move” tight end, Vance McDonald, during the draft.

Earlier in the draft, the Saints, who had the No. 32 pick in the first round, were on the phone with Foster when the 49ers clicked in to notify the Alabama linebacker they were about to take him at pick No. 31.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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