With the Bears, Falcons and Dolphins making the big free agent signing splashes of the weekend 49ers general manager Scot McCloughan got right into the action by signing a former number one draft pick. Normally that would be huge headlines but in this case the player is a number one draft pick, bust. Quarterback David Carr signed a two-year deal on Sunday and had spent the last two seasons with the Giants as Eli Manning’s backup. As the 49ers add to their roster of former number one draft picks I wonder what the real meaning of this signing will be? We all know that head coach Mike Singletary likes competition and he said that when he talked at the NFL scouting combine naming Alex Smith the starting quarterback going into the off-season. Carr is an unproven quarterback because he has really never had an opportunity to be a starter on a good team. He was drafted by the Texans when they became an expansion team in 2002 and he went on to set the record for most sacks in a season with 76. It is perplexing as to why Carr would want to sign with the 49ers. As much as his confidence was shattered in his five seasons with Texans and that he has been a backup QB with the Panthers and Giants the last three seasons he still believes he can be a starter in the NFL. That maybe true as he has never been given a chance to start under center behind a good offensive line but I don’t think signing with the 49ers is going to give him that chance. Singletary and his coaches will want to see what they can build on from last year with Smith as the number one quarterback especially with offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye coming back for a second straight season. Raye was not the best offensive coordinator last year but he adapted the offense to Smith’s best qualities, the spread formation, and he is the first play-caller to return for the next season in over eight years.
What the signing of Carr really means is bad news for Shaun Hill who will most likely be cut from the roster. I disagree that Carr would make a better backup than Hill mainly because Hills knows the current offensive system of the 49ers and Carr is coming in cold. But then again Hill did not look all the impressive last year when he started. Third-string quarterback Nate Davis will be a starter at some point in the coming years but relying on a second year QB to be the backup to Smith most likely gave McCloughan and company the hibbie jibbies so they signed Carr. Problem is, I think this might be the 49ers biggest free agent signing this off-season even though the 2010 NFL season is uncapped. The 49ers did improve their record to 8-8 but if they think by only signing Carr and whoever they take with the 13th and 16th picks in the draft will make them a playoff contending team, they should reevaluate their current roster. If it does play out this way McCloughan is sending a message that the 49ers are taking baby steps towards contending in the NFC West while the Cardinals and Seahawks are taking steps to stay atop of the division.
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