We’re going to look at departures from each position prior to Week 1 of the 2018 season and see how they fared after leaving the San Francisco 49ers. Some players went on to better careers, while others may be out of the league. We won’t be highlighting every transaction, just some notable ones. Today, we look at the quarterbacks.
Yeah, there’s only one quarterback here and he left midseason in 2017. We didn’t talk about him in our 2018 departure series and since I want a quarterback portion in this series we may as well talk about him now.
So who we talking about? Brian Hoyer. Of course you remember him. He was part of the first crop of free agents brought in by John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan. When the signing went down, you would have received no argument from me. Hoyer had the best season of his career under Kyle Shanahan when the two were with the Cleveland Browns. There was not a better person to bring in and install Shanahan’s offense. Then again, the 49ers didn’t have a quarterback on the roster beforehand, so there was already a simple box needed checking.
Hoyer had a nice preseason, looked good in the preseason games, then came out and lost the starting job to a rookie C.J. Beathard by Week 6. The benching put into motion the events surrounding the Jimmy Garoppolo trade. The 49ers tried to send Hoyer along with their second round pick for Garoppolo, but the New England Patriots preferred Hoyer released so it didn’t affect their comp pick formula.
So for the remainder of 2017 and 2018, Hoyer went to New England. It’s a bit of a stretch since this series is on 2018 departures, but we’ll roll with it. In 2018, Hoyer saw action in five games, throwing two passes and completing one for a 50 percent completion percentage. Tom Brady ran things with the Patriots and showed no sign of slowing down, so Hoyer was once again relegated to a backup role.
And that’s Brian Hoyer. Sure, we could talk about Jack Heneghan, but he was more of a training camp body and hasn’t been back since roster cuts in 2018. Nick Mullens was the practice squad quarterback and when he and Beathard were made the dynamic duo after Garoppolo’s knee injury, the 49ers played quarterback musical chairs with Tom Savage of all people.
But here’s the big question. Knowing what we know now about Beathard and Mullens, do you wish it wasn’t Savage, but instead Hoyer who was serving as the backup? If his release wasn’t a condition of the Garoppolo trade, would you have kept him as Garoppolo’s and possibly Mullens’ backup? It’s a strange hypothetical, but he’s the only quarterback departure in 2018.
Would you have kept him around if you had a choice?