Johnny Manziel will undoubtedly make more headlines, but it’s Brian Hoyer who enters the summer as the Browns’ No. 1 quarterback. Still, with Hoyer entering the final year of his contract, there haven’t been any real talks between agent Joe Linta and the Browns about a new deal, as Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com writes.
“Nothing of substance,” Linta said. “It’s too hard of a deal to do. I think (Browns GM) Ray Farmer realizes it’s too hard of a deal to do, too. The best thing for both sides is let the water seeks its own level. I can do a deal much better in September than I can do now. I can do a better deal in January.”
As Linta suggests, an extension for Hoyer is tricky since it’s not clear what his role will be for the Browns a year from now. The team didn’t draft Manziel to sit on the bench indefinitely, but there’s no guarantee he’ll have established himself as a productive starter by the end of the 2014 season either. Even if Hoyer isn’t Cleveland’s quarterback of the future, if he starts and plays well for much of the ’14 season, he’ll certainly be in line for a significant raise on his current two-year, $1.965MM pact. On the other hand, if Manziel wins the starting job sooner rather than later, Hoyer’s next contract may only be slightly larger than his current deal.
One point of comparison for Hoyer may be Chad Henne in Jacksonville. Henne posted respectable numbers during his stint as the Jaguars’ starter in 2013, and while Blake Bortles was drafted to be the team’s future starter, Henne still landed a two-year, $8MM extension in March. That sort of contract is inexpensive enough that even if Henne ultimately slides into the backup role, his salary won’t break the bank.
For what it’s worth, Linta says Hoyer “definitely” wants to remain with the Browns, his hometown team, for the long term. However, if the signal-caller reaches free agency in 2015 and receives an offer to start somewhere else while Cleveland is only offering a backup role, that would alter the equation.
“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.”