SANTA CLARA — The 49ers and the Jets are the two teams showing the most interest in free-agent quarterback Brian Hoyer, the NFL Network reported Wednesday.
Hoyer has long been linked to the 49ers because he played under San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan in 2014 when Shanahan was the offensive coordinator for the Browns.
Hoyer, 31, completed just 55.3 percent of his passes last year, threw 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and finished with a lowly 76.5 passer rating. But the talent-starved Browns went 7-6 in his starts.
Last year in Chicago was the opposite. Hoyer posted a 98.0 passer rating and threw six touchdowns against zero interceptions in five starts. But the Bears only won one game in those starts and never scored more than 23 points.
The 49ers, meanwhile, currently have no quarterbacks signed for the upcoming season. Both of last year’s starters, Colin Kaepernick and Blaine Gabbert are, like Hoyer, scheduled to become free agents at 1 p.m. on Thursday.
The 49ers are interested in trading for Washington starter Kirk Cousins, but would have to trade draft picks and sign Cousins to a hefty long-term deal. They could gamble that Cousins becomes an unrestricted free agent at this time next year, which still would require them to ink a long-term contract but would mean they could save their draft picks.
The 49ers also could draft a quarterback in what, at this point at least, seems like a very promising 2018 draft class. Delaying their big quarterback decision until next year would require them to sign a quarterback this year who can start but who wouldn’t preclude them from making a big move at the position next year.
Hoyer fits that description. So does another quarterback with whom Shanahan has worked in the past, Atlanta free agent Matt Schaub.