No matter what Brian Hoyer does in the 2017 season, he knows there will be voices calling for the 49ers to bring in another quarterback in 2018.
Hoyer, a journeyman, signed a two-year, $12 million deal with the 49ers this offseason, and he enters next week’s training camp as the presumed starter. He's taken that role seriously. In fact, he recently led a voluntary passing camp for the team’s quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends and running backs in Texas, to keep players sharp in the time between full-squad minicamp in June and the start of training camp (players are to report July 27).
Yet Hoyer already is having to fend off questions that the Niners will pursue Washington’s Kirk Cousins next year. On Monday, Cousins decided to sign just a one-year deal with his team and bypass a multi-year offer. That could make him a free agent in 2018. Hoyer says he’s not worried about the future.
“Look, this is 2017,” Hoyer said in an interview on ESPN’s “NFL Live” on Monday. “Kirk is going to be in Washington, I’m going to be in San Francisco. That’s all you can worry about. You control what you can control and you go out there and do the best you can.”
Plus there are arguments that can be made that Hoyer – if given the chance – could actually be as good as Cousins under Kyle Shanahan’s new offensive scheme in San Francisco. Hoyer, 31, has bounced around the league, but has been solid whenever he’s been given the chance to start. He has a 16-15 career record as a starter, while Cousins is 19-21-1.
And, this week, NFL.com analyst Elliot Harrison predicted that Hoyer – who played his best football for Shanahan when Shanahan was offensive coordinator of the Browns in 2014 – will throw for 4,000 yards for the 49ers in 2017. In 2014, Hoyer threw for a career-best 3,326 yards in 13 starts.
“Shanahan developed an offense that pushed Matt Ryan from viable franchise quarterback to MVP in the league in 2016,” wrote Harrison, of Shanahan’s work with the Falcons last season. “Hoyer was averaging well over 300 yards per start with the Bears last season in the four starts before he was hurt in the Packers game in October.
“He’s smart enough to know where to go with the football, and he should benefit from Shanahan’s penchant for getting everyone involved (particularly the RBs). With the proper offense, Hoyer might be better than everyone thinks.”