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Former Cleveland starter expected to compete with Tolzien for backup role

  • Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy throws during NFL football training camp on Sunday, July 29, 2012, in Berea, Ohio. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

SANTA CLARA — The San Francisco 49ers acquired Colt McCoy in a low-cost trade Monday, and the Cleveland Browns castoff will compete with Scott Tolzien for the top backup quarterback spot behind starter Colin Kaepernick.

The 49ers sent two late draft picks — fifth-round and seventh-round selections — to the Browns in exchange for McCoy and a sixth-round pick, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer and later confirmed by the Browns.

With Kaepernick entrenched as the starter after reaching last season's Super Bowl, the 49ers sought an experienced quarterback to compete with Tolzien, who has never appeared in a game in his two seasons as a backup.

News of the 49ers-Browns trade came a couple hours after the Seattle Seahawks dealt their only backup quarterback, Matt Flynn, to the Raiders for two late-round picks, one each in the 2014 and 2015 drafts. Also, the Arizona Cardinals reportedly were on the verge of acquiring former Raiders starting quarterback Carson Palmer for a late-round pick.

McCoy is under contract for just one more season, at a $2.325 million salary, according to ESPN. A third-round pick in 2010 out of Texas, he went 6-15 his first two seasons as a starter. Last season, he sat behind rookie Brandon Weeden before getting pressed into action in the penultimate game at Denver (9 of 17, 79 yards, one touchdown).

McCoy (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) missed the final three games of the 2011 season after a concussion. Now he's coming to the 49ers in hopes of filling the No. 2 role, which Alex Smith was forced into after he sustained a Nov. 11 concussion and lost his job to Kaepernick.

McCoy entered the NFL after winning more games (45) than any quarterback in NCAA history. He also produced a 70.3 career completion percentage at Texas, but only a 58.3 percent clip with the Browns.

McCoy will be reunited with a couple of past teammates: former Browns kicker Phil Dawson and former University of Texas cornerback Tarell Brown.

Tolzien has served as the 49ers' No. 3 quarterback the past two seasons. He was acquired once the San Diego Chargers cut him after the 2011 preseason.

Tolzien kept his job last year by beating out Josh Johnson in the preseason, during which Tolzien completed just 18 of 34 passes for 165 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions. Tolzien, however, was 10 of 13 for 84 yards in the exhibition opener, and safety Donte Whitner dubbed him "Baby Drew Brees" after that impressive showing.


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