The Niners have said for months they planned to take just two kickers and four quarterbacks to their summer camp, which begins July 21 in Stockton. Rheem's release settles that issue at kicker, and the team now is set to go to training camp with Jeff Garcia, Tim Rattay, rookie Brandon Doman and McNown at quarterback. A fifth QB, Gio Carmazzi, remains on the Niners roster, but he is likely to be released before training camp with some sort of injury settlement.
Aaron Garcia, who threw an Arena League-record 104 touchdown passes last season, appeared primed to take the Jeff Garcia route onto the 49ers roster when the team signed him early this year. He had made progress in the system since joining the team, but it became obvious as the months passed that the Niners did not see a place for the 31-year-old in their future plans.
That became evident when the Niners drafted BYU product Doman in April. When they signed him away from the Arena League, the Niners had told Garcia they did not plan to draft a quarterback this year. When the Niners acquired McNown from the Miami Dolphins on Thursday, it became obvious that Garcia wouldn't be sticking around.
After Doman was drafted, Garcia needed to demonstrate that he could challenge Tim Rattay for the No. 2 job behind Jeff Garcia, and that didn't happen. With an eye on developing QBs for both now and the future, the Niners saw no point in spending time developing Aaron Garcia with the 25-year-old Doman and 25-year-old McNown - who both are physically bigger and more athletic than Garcia - now in the fold.
Rheem also signed with the Niners before they drafted Chandler in the fourth round in April. He didn't necessarily lose his job by performance on the field in spring minicamps, where Rheem kicked well and certainly didn't hurt himself. But Cortez and Chandler also kicked well, and the Niners saw no point in continuing a three-way battle for one position into July.