The Patriots are bringing back Brian Hoyer, but could he really be the Week 1 starter replacing Tom Brady?
After losing Tom Brady, the New England Patriots signed a quarterback over the weekend. According to multiple reports, Brian Hoyer has been signed to a one-year, $1 million deal with $2 million available in incentives.
This will be Hoyer’s third stint with the Patriots. He was with them from 2009-2011, then for part of 2017 and all of 2018, making a total of 23 appearances with 51 pass attempts as a backup to Brady.
With little ability to make a notable move for a quarterback outside of April’s draft, with nearly $23 million in total dead money after Brady’s departure, it’s being assumed that 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham will replace Brady as the Patriots’ starting quarterback.
But according to Hoyer’s agent, an offer of more money elsewhere would not have curbed a desire to return to the Patriots. And, apparently, his client will get a chance to compete for the starting job.
Hoyer has made 38 starts in his career, with most of them coming with the Cleveland Browns in 2014 (13) and the Houston Texans in 2015 (nine starts). He also started five games for the Chicago Bears in 2016, and six for the San Francisco 49ers in 2017. He played in four games and made one start for the Indianapolis Colts last year in place of an injured Jacoby Brissett, going 18-for-39 for 204 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions in a Week 10 loss to the Miami Dolphins.
With their recent history in mind, the fact Hoyer went 7-6 as the Browns’ starter in 2014 and 10-6 in total as the starter for them between 2013 and 2014 is a noted outlier. He also led the league in yards per completion in 2014 (13.7), which stands as a nice mark on the resume of then-offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan.
Hoyer may really get a chance to be the Patriots’ starter, as much as it means for an agent to profess it or the team to promise it in March. But it doesn’t mean he’ll win the job, and even if he does it will only be a matter of time before he proves incapable and Stidham steps in.
If Hoyer is named the starter and keeps the job for very long, assuming he stays healthy, that will mean the tank is on in New England.
It’s hard to see the benefit of having a mediocre 34 year-old career backup (35 in October) starting any games that could benefit Stidham’s development, regardless of an effort to actually win. But Bill Belichick has six pelts on the wall to garner plenty of benefit of the doubt, and his ultimate master plan will be revealed in time.