Kyle Shanahan is securing 2017 offensive starters before the 2016 versions are fully out the door.
According to national reports, the 49ers on Wednesday agreed to contract terms with quarterback Brian Hoyer on a two-year deal and found him two pass catchers, Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin.
ESPN also reported the team had landed pass-catching fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who spent his first four seasons in the league with the Ravens. That trio accounted for a combined 1,738 receiving yards last season. The 49ers, meanwhile, finished last in the league in passing offense a year ago with 2,911 total yards.
No deals can be signed until the start of the NFL’s new year at 1 p.m. Thursday. Over the last two days, however, teams could negotiate with agents and agree in principle on contracts.
“I can tell you that one of the great things about the relationship thus far with Kyle is he has a very focused and specific profile for what he wants at each position,” general manager John Lynch said last week at the NFL scouting combine. “And I think it’s as strong as any at the receiver position. And so you can look at traits and those are things we’re looking at. Traits (as far as) how he does certain things at each level of the route. And that’s one thing Kyle’s done a tremendous job of is developing a philosophy for what he’s looking for at each position.”
Those traits led Shanahan to Garcon, 30, who had the best season of his nine-year career when Shanahan was his offensive coordinator in Washington in 2013, and to Goodwin, 26, a less accomplished receiver but one with blazing speed.
The pair would seem to form a thunder-and-lightning duo, with the physical Garcon — he has been likened to former 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin — in the role of possession receiver and Goodwin, a former track star who competed in the 2012 Olympics in the long jump, the 49ers’ new down-field threat.
Once they sign, they are the frontunners to replace 2016 starters Torrey Smith and Quinton Patton. Smith was released Tuesday and could sign with his former squad, the Baltimore Ravens. Patton is a free agent who is not expected back.
The same goes for San Francisco’s 2015-16 starting quarterbacks, Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick.
Hoyer, 31, will be on his seventh team when he signs with the 49ers. His acquisition likely puts an end to — or at least a damper on — speculation San Francisco will trade for Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.
To do so, the 49ers would have to send draft picks to Washington as well as 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 work out a long-term contract but would mean they could hold on to their draft picks. The 49ers also could draft a quarterback in what, at this point at least, seems like a promising 2018 draft class.
Under that strategy, the 49ers would need a bridge to 2018. Which is where Hoyer comes in.
Like Garcon, he has a history with Shanahan, having played under him with the Browns in 2014. He completed just 55.3 percent of his passes that season, 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 before being lost for the season with a broken, left (non-throwing) arm.
But the Bears won only one game in those starts and never scored more than 23 points.