Colt McCoy, the new Alex Smith?

Colt McCoy, the new Alex Smith?
April 2, 2013, 8:45 am
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Colt McCoy had 447 rush attempts in his career at Texas for 1,571 yards. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

A week ago, the 49ers had quarterback on their list of offseason needs. The Monday trade for Colt McCoy takes care of that.

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Colin Kaepernick is the starter. Colt McCoy is either going to be the backup or he will not make the team -- not at his scheduled $1.5 million salary, anyway.

And that leaves Scott Tolzien in competition for the No. 2 job or fighting for a spot on the 53-man roster, too.

The 49ers will add another quarterback to their 90-man roster for the offseason program and training camp. They can sign an undrafted rookie or they can use one of their seventh-round compensatory picks to select a quarterback. (Campensatory picks cannot be traded.)

Collin Klein (Kansas State) and Jordan Rodgers (Vanderbilt) are among the projects who could be available.

The 49ers will need two quarterbacks for their rookie minicamp a couple weeks after the draft. In the past, they've brought in another rookie for a "tryout" to share the demanding throwing chores over the course of the three days.

The 49ers' addition of McCoy gives the team a backup quarterback who is adept at running the read option. McCoy had 447 rush attempts in his career at Texas for 1,571 yards.

McCoy threw for 3,521 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2009 to win the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the nation's top senior quarterback. But, perhaps, the most memorable play from his college career was a 65-yard touchdown run on a read option against Texas A&M.

Meanwhile, Tolzien was the 2010 Unitas award winner while at Wisconsin. And he did it all with his arm. He had just 88 rushing attempts for minus-9 yards in his career. In college, sacks count as rushing attempts and yards-lost for the quarterback.

The 49ers investigated another read-option quarterback last week, bringing in former West Virginia star Pat White for a workout. White left Santa Clara without a contract. Every free agent the 49ers have signed thus far was under contract before leaving the Bay Area. So the fact that White left without a deal suggests the 49ers were not interested.

[RELATED: Pat White scheduled to visit Giants next]

The 49ers were not interested in any free agent quarterbacks. But when McCoy became available, it piqued their curiosity.

The 49ers prepared to face McCoy (6 foot 1, 215 pounds) in the middle of the 2011 season. He completed 22 of 34 passes for 241 yards with one touchdown and one interception in the Browns' 20-10 loss at Candlestick Park in the middle of the 2011 season.

He threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Joshua Cribbs, who made a catch 25 yards down the field along the left sideline against the coverage of Tarell Brown. McCoy also had eight rushing attempts for 30 yards.

McCoy became expendable last week when the Browns signed former Raiders starter Jason Campbell to join 2012 starter Brandon Weedon. McCoy was one of 61 players to attend the first day of the Browns offseason program on Monday, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported, before he left on a flight bound for the Bay Area after the completion of the trade.

The 49ers gave up a seventh-round draft pick and moved back nine spots from the end of the fifth round to the beginning of the sixth round to acquire McCoy. It was not a steep price to pay for a potential backup quarterback, considering how difficult it might be for a seventh-round draft pick to win a roster spot with the 49ers.

McCoy, a third-round draft pick in 2010, has several striking similarities to Alex Smith, who finished last season as the 49ers' backup quarterback.

During the 2011 lockout, McCoy organized player workouts and helped install then-coach Pat Shurmur's new West Coast offense. Like Smith, McCoy paid expenses for some of his Cleveland teammates, the Plain Dealer reported.

Also, McCoy never again started for the Browns after sustaining a concussion in December 2011. His season-ending head injury came on a hit from Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker James Harrison. In April, the Browns selected Weedon with the No. 22 overall pick. Weedon started all 16 games as a rookie.

Smith, who never regained his starting job from Kaepernick after sustaining a concussion last season, was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs for a second-round draft pick and a conditional second- or third-round pick in 2014.

In addition to gaining in the draft, the 49ers are in line to save $7 million in cap space with McCoy replacing Smith as the backup quarterback.

 

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