We learned earlier today from CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora that Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer, after his excellent start to 2014, is quickly making a case for a big-money, long-term deal. Former agent Joel Corry added that, even if the two sides cannot hammer out a multi-year contract, Hoyer could soon be in for a big payday, as Cleveland has enough cap room to put the roughly $18MM franchise tag on Hoyer for the 2015 season.
La Canfora and Corry, however, are not the only ones contemplating Hoyer’s prospects today. Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal writes that Hoyer could take yet another step to securing his place in the league, and his bright financial future, with a strong showing against the hated Steelers this afternoon. Although the Browns have gotten off to an 0-2 start in the AFC North, their earlier losses against the Steelers and Ravens were close and highly competitive affairs, a silver lining for a team that has been on the wrong end of too many blowouts in recent history.
Hoyer is 5-2 in his career as the Browns starter under center, and through four games this season he has completed 62.1% of his passes for 1,007 yards, six TDs, and one interception, which all adds up to a 97.6 quarterback rating. With each passing week, he looks more and more like the quarterback solution that the Browns have sought for so long.
Even rival beat writers are jumping on the Hoyer bandwagon. Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post Post-Gazette writes that, after spending two years holding a clipboard for Tom Brady in New England and spending this offseason as a footnote to the Johnny Manziel hype, Hoyer has done what a good quarterback is supposed to do: elevate his supporting cast. In Hoyer’s case, that supporting cast is a rather uninspiring one. Although Cleveland’s running game has provided a solid foundation, the fact that Hoyer has performed so well this season with a banged-up Jordan Cameron and without Josh Gordon is especially impressive.
The fear that Hoyer, who was an unheralded and undrafted free agent when he entered the league, could turn into a pumpkin at any moment will be present for a long time, particularly among Cleveland fans. But as he continues to stack up excellent games, the wins are likely to follow, and that fear might slowly start to fade into something a little more akin to hope.