49ers

49ers sign QB Matt Barkley to two-year deal

49ers sign QB Matt Barkley to two-year deal

Update (March 10, 4:52 p.m.): Matt Barkley has officially signed a two-year deal with the 49ers. 

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The 49ers reached a two-year contract agreement with quarterback Matt Barkley on Thursday night, a league source confirmed. 

Barkley becomes the second quarterback the 49ers added on the first day of free agency. Earlier on Thursday, the 49ers agreed to terms on a two-year contract with Brian Hoyer. Barkley and Hoyer were teammates last season with the Chicago Bears.

The NFL Network was first to report the 49ers' agreement with Barkley.

Barkley, a three-year veteran, started six games for the Bears late in the season after season-ending injuries to Jay Cutler and Hoyer. His only victory came against the 49ers, 26-6, on an inclement day at Soldier Field. Barkley completed 11 of 18 passes for 192 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions.

Last season, Barkley completed 129 of 216 pass attempts (59.7 percent) for 1,611 yards with eight touchdowns and 14 interceptions. His passer rating was 68.3.

Barkley entered the NFL in 2013 as a third-round pick of the Philadelphia Eagles under Chip Kelly. He appeared in just four games with the Eagles, completing 30 of 50 pass attempts for 300 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions.

The 49ers entered free agency with no quarterbacks under contract after Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract. There has been no reported interest in Kaepernick, who is an unrestricted free agent.

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

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USATSI/AP

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

LeBron James is an avid football fan. He's now an even bigger Colin Kaepernick fan than the sport. Following the Cavaliers' practice on Sunday, James opened up on Kaepernick and his absence from the NFL. 

"I've commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him," James said to ESPN. "Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn't see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature."

James believes the masses don't truly understand what Kaepernick was doing when he first took a knee as a protest against social and racial injustices in America. For his actions, James respects Kaepernick choosing his beliefs over his sport.

"When it's something that's new and it's something that people are not educated about or don't understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you're doing is wrong," James said. "For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he's done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that."

Add James to the list of those who believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for taking a knee last season. The more games he watches, the more James sees the evidence on the wall. 

"I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that," James believes. "Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick, who recently turned 30 years old, appeared in 12 games for the 49ers in the 2016-17 season. Through the air he completed 59.2 percent of his passes and ended the year with 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kaepernick also added 468 yards and two more scores on the ground. 

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee," James said. "That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

For his career, Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns to 30 interceptions. With his speed as a dual-threat quarterback, Kaepernick has also gained 2,300 yards rushing and 13 more touchdowns. 

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

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AP

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.