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49ers roster breakdowns, 90-in-90: Brian Hoyer

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Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). We move on to quarterback Brian Hoyer.

Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.

It’s funny when we bring up the expected starter for the San Francisco 49ers. Funny because it’s questionable as to why Brian Hoyer hasn’t received a bit more praise than what he has gotten. I’ll admit, I had plenty of fun at his expense during his free agency signing and after, but as I looked him up for this article I realized, he’s really not that bad of a signing and some (not all) are thinking they may as well bring the likes of Ryan Mallet to San Francisco as well. Hoyer’s not great, but for what this 49ers team has, he’s a good option. Fooch can sum all this up better than I can, but let’s look at where this guy has been and you can see how he’s made Alex Smith green with envy over all the decisions:

Coincidentally, Hoyer’s first NFL start came against a certain Super Bowl-bound team in Week 17 when he played for the Arizona Cardinals...as their 4th starting quarterback that season. Yup, it was non other than against the 49ers. It wasn’t pretty, as Hoyer spent most of his time on his back due to getting blasted by the 49ers defense. Given that Hoyer had only been on the Cardinals a handful of days before the start, there may have been some impossible expectations for him on that team.

From there, Hoyer showed he had promise, playing a great season in Cleveland in 2013 cut short by an ACL injury. In 2014, he played decent at the beginning of the season, but wound up getting benched in favor of Johnny Manziel.

Let that sink in. Hoyer got benched for Johnny Football.

Now, that’s not the kind of thing you’d want on your record at all, but this rotation and in-out mentality would follow Hoyer all the way to San Francisco. He went to the Houston Texans, where head coach Bill O’Brien wouldn’t stick with a starter even if his life depended on it, and then the Chicago Bears where a fractured arm kept him from completing his season.

Hoyer has yet to start an entire 16-game NFL season and that’s not exactly inspiring. On the other hand, it seems like he’s been a victim of several bad circumstances. Let’s hope he can find some consistency in San Francisco. At least this year.

Basic Info

Age:31
Experience: Eight accrued seasons
Height: 6’2
Weight: 215 lbs

Cap Status:

Signed two-year deal with $9.85 million fully guaranteed at signing. Received $4 million signing bonus, will earn a base salary of $2,950,000 in 2017. Can earn up to $400,000 in a per-game roster bonus and $150,000 in a workout bonus for 2017.

Why He Might Improve in 2017

As strange as it might be to say it, San Francisco finally has some stability it didn’t have since Jim Harbaugh left the team. With a pair of six-year contracts for a general manager and head coach who get along, and a head coach who was once his offensive coordinator (and who can’t be overruled to start Johnny Football), the sky is the limit for Brian Hoyer. He has issues consistently playing at a high level for an entire season (read: 2014) but we can give the benefit of the doubt to a chaotic front office and situation in Cleveland rather than place it all on the shoulders of Hoyer.

All that said, Hoyer has a bit of a grey area and one of the best opportunities he’s ever had. He needs to make the most of this opportunity or he’ll go from the level of journeymen quarterbacks like Ryan Fitzpatrick and join the levels of Mark Sanchez.

Why He Might Regress in 2017

As said above, Hoyer has problems finishing an entire season, either by injury or poor play. In 2014 he started out well with an incredible touchdown to interception ratio of 7-1 but slowly regressed as the season went on to awful performances that put him on the bench and keep him there. Example: that TD:INT ratio I mentioned above? Well it plummeted to a 1-8 during a 4-game stretch. Whoever you are, you won’t be keeping your job if that’s your numbers. If it’s not poor play, he finds a way to get himself injured and out for the season. Once again, he’ll be shiny and new when things get started in 2017, but as the season wares on and teams adjust to the 49ers’ offensive system and Hoyer, it’s up to him to adjust with them or it’s going to be pick-city once again and we’ll be seeing the coming of Matt Barkley. That is, if he stays healthy that long.

Odds of Making the Roster

Hoyer was brought in for his familiarity in Shanahan’s offense and to help the team with the transition. He’s absolutely invaluable in this regard as he can help educate the players on the nuances of Shanahan’s difficult system. Given that the 49ers have Matt Barkley and C.J. Beathard behind him, Hoyer is a lock to making the roster.

Though he may not be a lock to start all 16 games.