49ers

49ers Mailbag: How much impact will Camp Hoyer have?

49ers Mailbag: How much impact will Camp Hoyer have?

The 49ers’ official offseason program wrapped up last month. The team returns to practice on July 28 as it eases into training camp at its headquarters in Santa Clara.

But, as promised, a good number of the team’s offensive skill players are holding a get-together at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, as documented on Marquise Goodwin’s Instagram story.

Quarterback Brian Hoyer, who is well-versed in Kyle Shanahan’s offense, is the central figure of the workouts. A total of 16 players, including all four quarterbacks, were on hand for the Camp Hoyer workouts Monday and Tuesday.

“It is such a long period of time that you want to get together at least for some period,” Hoyer said as the 49ers concluded their offseason program.

“We're aiming for right in the middle of when we leave and when we come back. We'll get as many guys together as we can. You can't accommodate everybody because people are going all across the country. We're going to get together and get three days in and then come back ready to go on July 27th.”

This edition of 49ers Mailbag kicks off with a question about the importance of these workouts:

How much of an impact will Camp Hoyer be on the players? (George Fifita)
The last time the 49ers got together on their own to hold workouts on this level was 2011 during the lockout. "Camp Alex" proved to be invaluable, as then-quarterback Alex Smith was given all the teaching tools -- playbook and game film -- and was able to install the offense during extended workouts at San Jose State when the players were not allowed to have any contact with the coaching staff.

This is different because all the players attending the workouts at SMU took part in the 49ers’ offseason program. So these sessions are a refresher course of what they have already learned. But, more important, it is a great opportunity for the team to spend time with one another and create a bond. It's also a great opportunity to develop quarterback-receiver chemistry and trust.

Hoyer has done all the right things since Shanahan targeted him to be the team’s starting quarterback. Organizing an event such as this is a way for him to earn more confidence from the offensive teammates on whom he must rely.

Is there any chance that the new regime has already decided to develop the rookie QB Beathard rather than go after Kirk Cousins if and when he becomes a free agent? Is there anyway that no matter how well Hoyer does next season would he be the starter for 2018? (Michael Monico)
Typically, the answer to “any chance” questions is yes. After all, there’s almost always a chance that something will happen.

But there is no chance the organization has already decided that C.J. Beathard is the quarterback for the 2018 season. Of course, it might turn out that way. You never know. But the 49ers have a lot of time before they must commit to a course of action for 2018.

As for your second question, of course, there’s a chance for Hoyer to be the 49ers’ starting quarterback in 2018.

The 49ers did not make a commitment this offseason for a long-term answer at quarterback. Next offseason will likely be different. If the 49ers fall on their faces and win just a couple games, the long-term answer could come via the draft.

But if the 49ers made a marked improvement and tumble out of the draft spot where they can assure themselves the quarterback they want, they’ll either be happy with their starting quarterback situation for the future or they will have to consider the free-agent market. If Kirk Cousins or Jimmy Garoppolo are available in free agency, they would be the top-two options available.

Currently, the 49ers have $66.8 million in salary cap room that is eligible to be rolled over into 2018. So the 49ers can basically go as high as necessary to secure a quarterback for the long term.

Do you think Carlos Hyde has any real shot of losing his starting job? (Tiny Martinez)
Very few players have secured their starting jobs for the upcoming season. Carlos Hyde is not among those.

He is entering the final year of his contract, and we all know how badly Shanahan and running backs coach Bobby Turner wanted Joe Williams in the draft. Shanahan and Turner would not have stood on the table for Williams if they did not have a clear vision for how he fits into their offensive plan.

Hyde is an immensely talented running back whose bid for 1,000 yards came up just 12 yards short due to a late-season knee injury. He is healthy. But he is learning a new system. Shanahan and Turner hand-picked a running back they believe best-fits the requirements of the position in their scheme.

Hyde is probably still the favorite to win the starting job, but he will have to earn it. However it shakes out, it is probably safe to assume the club will employ more of a backs-by-committee approach with Williams and Tim Hightower available for key roles.

Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts

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Drafted by Baalke with injury, former 49ers WR signs with Colts

The 49ers recently re-signed eight of the 10 players who finished the season on the team’s practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Smelter, who was not among the first wave of 49ers signings to 2018 contracts, signed Wednesday with the Indianapolis Colts, ending his three-season association with the organization.

Smelter was one of general manager Trent Baalke’s redshirt draft picks. The team selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft despite a torn ACL that ended his final season at Georgia Tech.

Smelter spent his first season on an injured list. He was waived at the beginning of the past two seasons, finishing both years on the 49ers’ practice squad. Smelter appeared in two games in 2016 and caught one pass for 23 yards.

Last season, the 49ers signed wide receivers Louis Murphy and Max McCaffrey to spots on the 53-man roster instead of Smelter, who remained on the practice squad.

Wide receiver DeAndre Carter, who also spent the entire season on the practice squad, was signed recently to the team’s 90-man roster.

Others who finished the season on the 49ers practice squad to remain on the team’s offseason roster are: quarterback Nick Mullens, tight end Cole Wick, offensive linemen Andrew Lauderdale and Pace Murphy, linebacker Boseko Lokombo, and defensive backs Trovon Reed and Channing Stribling.

The 49ers also signed fullback Malcolm Johnson, who spent last season on injured reserve with the Seattle Seahawks. Johnson appeared in 19 games over the 2015 and ’16 seasons with the Cleveland Browns. He was a sixth-round draft pick in ’15.

Offensive linemen Cameron Hunt, who finished the season on the 49ers’ practice squad, remains unsigned. Guard JP Flynn is also unsigned. He sustained a torn patellar tendon in November and underwent surgery that was expected to keep him out up to nine months.

An intriguing dynamic of Garoppolo's contract negotiations

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An intriguing dynamic of Garoppolo's contract negotiations

If the 49ers and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo are unable to reach a multi-year contract extension by March 6, the 49ers have no other choice but to designate him as their franchise player.

The estimated one-year salary for the franchise tag would be $23.307 million, according to former NFL agent Joel Corry, whose work now appears at CBS Sports. (That is assuming a 2018 league-wide salary cap of $178.1 million per team.)

There is a lot to consider for both sides as they look to enter into a long-term contract. Corry said if a deal is struck, he would expect it to be in the neighborhood of Derek Carr’s five-year, $125 million deal he signed with the Raiders last offseason.

“And then there’s the other dynamic, which I would not undersell or I think may not be appreciated as much as it should be,” Corry said on the 49ers Insider Podcast. “(Garoppolo’s agent) Don Yee has a reputation – no fault of his own – of doing team-friendly deals.”

Yee also represents New England quarterback Tom Brady, whose average of $20.5 million annual pay ranks 15th among NFL quarterbacks. Brady is underpaid by design, Corry said, because one of the great quarterbacks of all-time realizes it helps the Patriots to maintain a strong supporting cast.

“That’s because Tom Brady dictates, ‘I want to do something good for the team, take less money so we can improve the roster to win Super Bowls.’ That’s not Don Yee who wants to do that,” Corry said.

“The agent works for the player, so he’s executing Tom Brady’s wishes. But he gets that held against him in recruiting. So this is his opportunity to erase that perception if Garoppolo allows him to do his job and gives him latitude to strike the deal that he feels is appropriate.”

For more on the potential negotiating strategies of both sides, listen here to the 49ers Insider Podcast.