NFL Free Agency: The 49ers Should Sign Veteran Quarterback Shaun Hill

The San Francisco 49ers are probably going to find a franchise-type quarterback in the upcoming 2017 NFL Draft. But they could use a mentor to tutor a young prospect, and veteran free-agent QB Shaun Hill fits the bill.

In all likelihood, the San Francisco 49ers are going to target a prospective quarterback via the 2017 NFL Draft.

True, the next signal-caller in Santa Clara might enjoy the kind of first-year success like Dallas Cowboys QB Dak Prescott. But those finds, and situations, are rare at best. In reality, the next rookie will need some grooming and mentoring.

Enter free-agent veteran quarterback Shaun Hill.

At 37 years old, Hill is nothing more than a stopgap option for the Niners. But San Francisco fans will remember his three-year tenure with the red and gold, stretching from 2007 through 2009. And he’s managed to be a serviceable backup with various teams in every year since.

So, without having an elite-level skill set, it’s safe to say Hill knows a thing or two on what it takes to stick around in the NFL.

For the record, the average career of an NFL player is 3.3 years, according to Statista.com.

Shaun Hill’s Skill Set

Again, Hill isn’t a long-term answer. But the 11-year veteran does have 35 career starts under his belt. And it’s not out of the question he could end up being a starter for the Niners in 2017.

Take a look at his numbers, courtesy of Pro Football Reference:

Passing Table
Year Age Tm G GS Cmp Att Cmp% Yds TD Int Lng Y/A Y/G Rate QBR Sk
2005 25 MIN 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0
2007 27 SFO 3 2 54 79 68.4 501 5 1 26 6.3 167.0 101.3 52.04 6
2008 28 SFO 9 8 181 288 62.8 2046 13 8 48 7.1 227.3 87.5 55.14 23
2009 29 SFO 6 6 87 155 56.1 943 5 2 61 6.1 157.2 79.6 35.47 18
2010 30 DET 11 10 257 416 61.8 2686 16 12 75 6.5 244.2 81.3 45.15 17
2011 31 DET 2 0 2 3 66.7 33 0 0 28 11.0 16.5 103.5 71.06 0
2012 32 DET 1 0 10 13 76.9 172 2 0 46 13.2 172.0 157.9 52.9 0
2013 33 DET 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0
2014 34 STL 9 8 145 229 63.3 1657 8 7 63 7.2 184.1 83.9 41.37 18
2015 35 MIN 3 0 2 7 28.6 15 0 0 9 2.1 5.0 39.6 1.42 1
2016 36 MIN 3 1 19 35 54.3 242 0 0 33 6.9 80.7 76.1 63.7 1
Career 49 35 757 1225 61.8 8295 49 30 75 6.8 169.3 84.9 84
4 yrs DET 15 10 269 432 62.3 2891 18 12 75 6.7 192.7 84.2 17
3 yrs MIN 7 1 21 42 50.0 257 0 0 33 6.1 36.7 69.2 2
3 yrs SFO 18 16 322 522 61.7 3490 23 11 61 6.7 193.9 87.3 47
1 yr STL 9 8 145 229 63.3 1657 8 7 63 7.2 184.1 83.9 18
Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/14/2017.

The career-84.9 passer rating certainly isn’t bad. And considering last year’s starter, Colin Kaepernick, posted a 90.7 passer rating in 2016, it’s not as if this is a major setback.

Plus, Hill is the definitive pocket passer. If San Francisco’s next general manager and head coach tandem wants a QB to be more of the traditional kind, Hill’s skill set is a better example from which to draw.

Why the 49ers Target Shaun Hill

First of all, the list of free-agent quarterbacks on the market this offseason is thin. So for those thinking the Niners will make a move in free agency to upgrade the QB position better not get too excited.

While there are some promising quarterbacks coming out in the 2017 NFL Draft, it isn’t as if there’s a bona fide must-have QB prospect right at the top of the overall class.

At least not according to Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller:

With the No. 2 overall pick, the Niners would be reaching if they selected a quarterback in Round 1, barring a trade down of course.

And it’s hard to say any of the soon-to-be rookie quarterbacks are truly NFL ready. So that means mentoring.

Hill is capable of doing just that.

San Francisco won’t have to dish out a lot of money or make a long-term investment in the veteran either. This will likely be a last contract for Hill as he winds down a long NFL career.

And he could finish it by helping mentor the Niners’ next quarterback of the future.

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