In a somewhat surprising move Monday, the Niners inked former #1 draft pick from the 2002 draft, quarterback David Carr, to a 2 year contract worth over $6 million in guaranteed money.
This move kind of came out of nowhere, as the Niners appeared set to role with Alex Smith at QB1 and use Shaun Hill and youngster Nate Davis to back him up. However, the Niners have apparently seen all they care to from Shaun Hill, and aren't confident enough in Nate Davis to use him if Alex Smith struggles or goes down with injury at some point in 2010. So, the Niners went out and grabbed David Carr, who they're hoping will provide them with some stability after Alex Smith. They really like Carr's arm and his ability to get the ball down field, which is an area that Shaun Hill doesn't excel at. In 2008-09, Carr served as Eli Manning's back-up in New York and threw pretty well in his short stints behind center for the Giants. Carr's last year as a starter was in 2006 when he threw for 2767 yards and 11 touchdowns with 12 picks with the Texans, good for a QB rate of 82.1. His best season as a starter came in 2004-'05 when he threw for 3531 yards and 16 TD's. The Niners viewed Carr as one of the better options available as far as veteran QB's who could come in and start if Alex Smith goes down. A few of the other veteran back-up QB's on the free agent market were Patrick Ramsey, Rex Grossman, Jeff Garcia and Chad Pennington.
The move kind of took a few of the Niners players by surprise as well. One player in particular, Patrick Willis, actually voiced dis-pleasure with the Niners signing of Carr. Willis used Twitter as an outlet to sort of throw Niners management under the bus, saying he didn't understand why the Niners would add a quarterback that wasn't as good as their current top-2, and would have rather seen them go after someone like Michael Vick or Donovan McNabb rather than signing David Carr. I was kind of thrown back by Willis' comments, as he's always been a soft-spoken, let my play do my talking for me type of guy, and the last thing I would have expected would be to see Willis lash-out over the signing of a back-up QB. Now, I do understand where Willis is coming from, I don't really love this move either. I would have liked to see Nate Davis get a shot if Alex Smith proves not to be the answer next year, but it looks like David Carr is going to get consideration as a potential QB of the future instead. Hopefully Alex Smith really arrives next year, and this is a moot point, but even so, Carr isn't coming very cheaply. The Niners have apparently expressed some interest in former Jets running back Leon Washington as a back-up running back, but mostly as a kick/punt returner. I don't think I'd look into him too much though, because he'd cost the Niners their 2nd rounder if they do end up signing him, plus I'd much rather spend the money on Joshua Cribbs, who I see as a perfect fit for San Francisco.