49ers

Shanahan not sure if 49ers will add QB via free agency or draft

Shanahan not sure if 49ers will add QB via free agency or draft

SANTA CLARA – The 49ers reached contract agreements with two quarterbacks on the first day of free agency.

The team is not finished adding to the quarterback position to join Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, who officially signed a two-year deal on Friday evening after clearing a physical. But there is no indication Colin Kaepernick remains in the picture – even as general manager John Lynch said a week ago the 49ers were not ready to rule out his return.

Kaepernick opted out of his contract last week to become a free agent. While each of the other unsigned 49ers quarterbacks still had name plates above their lockers from last season, Kaepernick’s has been removed. It’s not clear whether he took the marker at his stall with him at the end of the season.

Lynch said last week that it was “liberating” to start new at the quarterback position and have nobody at the position under contract. The 49ers are certainly not finished adding to the position.

“We’ll continue to look,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Friday, as the organization welcomed seven free agents to the organization.

“You rarely take just two guys into a camp. So I have a pretty good feeling we will add more. I don’t know whether that’ll be through free agency or the draft, but there’s every avenue possible. We don’t limit ourselves to anything.”

Hoyer became the first quarterback added by the new 49ers power team of Shanahan and Lynch. Hoyer signed a two-year deal, and is the presumptive starter with a lot of decisions yet to be made.

“I’m worried about this year and that’s all I can control and that’s coming in here and being the best quarterback I can for this organization,” Hoyer said. “It’s a real exciting time.

“I have a lot of confidence in myself. Unfortunately, every time something’s kind of gone well, there’s been an injury or a bad game here or there and you just put it behind you and you keep fighting. And that’s why, as I said, an undrafted player, I’m sitting here going into my ninth year with a great chance to be the quarterback for this team and that’s all I’m looking for.”

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.