3:45pm: Linta tells Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com that November 1 would be the earliest that the two sides could assess Hoyer’s value. It seems like this story is likely to play out into the season, so stay tuned.
1:18pm: Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal also talked to Linta, and the agent implied that Hoyer may just hold out for free agency. Via Twitter…
“Had a couple of conversations with [the Browns]. Very difficult to move forward until we see how the season plays out.”
If Hoyer inked a contract prior reaching free agency, he’d certainly be looking to protect himself. Former agent (and current CBSSports.com writer) Joel Corry details a potential contract on his Twitter, stating it “must contain” escalators or incentives and “possibly a way to void.”
10:57am: Linta confirmed to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com that discussions have taken place with the Browns about an extension for his client, but said it’ll be a “difficult deal” to negotiate. As I pointed out earlier this month, it’s hard to assess Hoyer’s true value when his role for the coming season and beyond isn’t yet clear — the Browns could push for a modest backup-type contract based on the presence of Manziel, while Hoyer’s camp could pursue a larger extension based on the fact that the veteran is currently atop the depth chart.
“We’re always open to talking with the Browns, but we’re content to wait and see what happens down the road,” Linta said.
If the two sides attempt to reach an agreement this summer, a bridge deal like Henne’s two-year, $8MM pact with the Jaguars could be a point of comparison. As an executive from another team tells Rapoport though, Hoyer’s value could shift by as much as about $7MM per year depending on whether he establishes himself as a starter or backup.
9:26am: The Browns may have used a first-round pick on their potential quarterback of the future in Johnny Manziel last month, but that doesn’t mean the quarterback of the present is necessarily going anywhere. According to ESPN.com’s Adam Schefter, Cleveland is trying to extend the contract of QB Brian Hoyer, who is entering the final season of a two-year deal with the club.
Hoyer, who started three games for the Browns last year before suffering an ACL injury, is penciled in as the team’s No. 1 quarterback heading into training camp, though Manziel is expected to challenge for that job. Whether or not Hoyer hangs on to the starting role in 2014 or beyond, it makes sense that the Browns are interested in pairing a veteran they like with the inexperienced Manziel.
On his current two-year contract, Hoyer is only making a total of about $2MM, so even if he receives a sizable raise, the Browns wouldn’t necessarily need to commit to paying him more than backup money. Many top-end backups or borderline starters around the league, such as Chad Henne, Matt Moore, Matt Hasselbeck, and Kyle Orton, are making between $3.5-4MM per year.
A deal in that range for Hoyer wouldn’t break the bank for the Browns, and would represent a nice payday for the signal-caller, whose salaries in his first few NFL seasons have been modest. Cleveland could also push for a smaller base value on a contract that includes incentives for playing time and production, which would allow Hoyer to earn bonuses if he sees the field more than expected.
Earlier in June, Hoyer’s agent, Joe Linta, told Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com that, if all other factors are equal, his client would prefer to remain in Cleveland with the Browns.
“I think if it’s backup to backup, I think he would (want to stay),” Linta said. “If you’re comparing apples to apples, it’s always Cleveland. If it’s backup in Cleveland vs. starter somewhere else, I’m sure he’d like to start.”