SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers acquired quarterback Colt McCoy in a low-cost trade Monday, vaulting the Cleveland Browns castoff into a competition with Scott Tolzien for the top backup 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 leading the team to 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.
"Yeah it doesn't look like he'll play much out there, but Colin Kaepernick runs quite a bit and will start taking hits now that everybody has all offseason to study this read-option (offense)," former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar said on ESPN 850-AM in Cleveland. "For Colt McCoy to be out there on that loaded, championship-caliber team ... this could give him his best chance for success."
The 49ers had not confirmed the trade as of early Monday evening. News of the deal came shortly 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 Monday, the Arizona Cardinals reportedly were working to acquire Carson Palmer from the Raiders.
McCoy, 26, is under contract for just one more season, at a $2,325,000 salary, according to ESPN. A third-round pick in 2010 out of Texas, he went 6-15 his first two seasons as the Browns starter, then rode the bench last season behind rookie Brandon Weeden.
McCoy (6-foot-1, 215 pounds) missed the final three games of the 2011 season after a concussion. Now he'll try securing the 49ers' No. 2 role, which Alex Smith was forced into after sustaining a Nov. 11 concussion and losing his job to Kaepernick.
McCoy entered the NFL after winning more games (45) in NCAA history than any quarterback. He produced a 70.3 career completion percentage at Texas but only a 58.3 percent clip with the Browns. McCoy will be reunited with 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 exhibition season. Tolzien kept his job last year by beating out Josh Johnson in the exhibition season, 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.