Release Candidate: Patriots QB Brian Hoyer

When the Patriots signed Brian Hoyer back in March, many expected him to wind up as the Patriots’ new starter to replace Tom Brady. A few months later, things have changed dramatically. Between the addition of Cam Newton and the presence of youngster Jarrett Stidham, Hoyer may wind up back on the curb this summer.

Hoyer started out with the Patriots way back in 2008. Since then, the one-time undrafted free agent out of Michigan State has been a practice field favorite. This year would mark his third go ’round with Bill Belichick, so he knows the schemes and terminology inside and out.

He’s also signed to a very reasonable one-year, $2MM deal, and it’s fully guaranteed. Financially speaking, the Patriots would gain nothing by releasing the 34-year-old (35 in October).

Since 2010, the Patriots have generally rolled with two QBs on the depth chart, a savvy move to increase flexibility in other areas. Of course, they’re in a very different situation without Brady under center. At one point, in Brady’s rookie year, the Patriots housed four passers on the roster. If they don’t feel the need to backstop Newton and Stidham with their proven – and already paid – signal caller, the Patriots could drop him and create an extra spot for an edge rusher like Shilique Calhoun or a tenth offensive lineman.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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25 comments on “Release Candidate: Patriots QB Brian Hoyer

  1. crosseyedlemon

    Stidham is unproven and Newton has one good shoulder so Hoyer should be the starter. He certainly isn’t going to be dropped from the depth chart in favor of Lewerke or Smith.

    • rusty.coqbern

      Bill also likes experience in backups and practice squad QB’s for simulating other QB’s game tendencies etc. I doubt he’s dropped, they need the depth and the experience in the system with at least one QB (add the $2M salary guarantee and it makes even less sense). Trading Hoyer’s experience for a year of someone like Calhoun just doesn’t make sense (if we had a chance for a decent playmaking WR, DT or an OLB/DE it might be worth it… Might be, all depends on how much of a need someone will be by adding them to the the roster).

      • rusty.coqbern

        I’d add another position, Guard (Swing-Tackle).. That could push Hoyer out if they feel okay w/Stidman’s grasp on the system now and how well Newton picks it up in the weeks to come).

  2. steve dolan

    With all the uncertainty regarding Stidham and Newton, I think the Patriots carry a third QB, Hoyer, for the start of the season. Later in the season, when the position becomes clearer, Hoyer becomes expendable, unless Stidham completely flops.

    • Ak185

      I think that this is, by far, the likeliest scenario. If they drop Hoyer, it is unlikely to me that he finds another team. He may, however, join the Pats’ organization. He obviously has familiarity with the personnel, schemes, and staff. And he’s already fully compensated no matter which direction New England decides to go. Right now, Cam is the supposed starter, Stidham is the developmental possibility, and Hoyer is the insurance. Belichick I do not think will feel comfortable taking a chance on a recently injured QB and a young unproven sophomore without some level ground from which to feel comfortable-i.e., Hoyer.

      • inkstainedscribe

        ^^^This. Either Cam is healthy enough to play a full season or he’s done. He can’t work through injuries that affect his mobility or mechanics in the way other QBs can (probably from taking and inviting so many hits). Wouldn’t surprise me to see Hoyer in the building as some sort of special consultant, still working out, and being an insurance policy if Cam is hurt.

  3. bradthebluefish

    I’m calling it that Hoyer stays. He can help teach the Patriots way to the newcomers and be a good backup to an injury prone QB and a rookie QB.

    • rocky7

      The “patriots way” is about winning and they won’t do that with Hoyer playing……Cam will have to prove he is capable of staying healthy at his age, and Stidham basically is still a wild card at the position but come on…..lets be realistic…Hoyer gives you ZERO chance of making the playoffs regardless of whether the defense can pull out games where the offense just can’t score…

      • wagner13

        Hoyer isn’t there to start. His presence as a veteran mentor that fully understands Belichick’s system is invaluable to a young quarterback like Stidham

        • rocky7

          Veteran mentor my ass!….with roster restrictions these days, especially given the Cover issues….they can’t waste a roster spot on a guy that might be a “valuable mentor” to Stidham…

      • bradthebluefish

        Exactly. It’s all about advancing those around you. Also, the Patriots will need Hoyer if Newton can’t stay healthy and Stidham ends up being an interception machine (which I doubt, but you never know).

      • Ak185

        The Patriot Way is not about winning, necessarily. It’s about minimizing risk. By doing that, you increase your chances to win. Consistency is the most important expectation in New England, in terms of individual attributes. Hoyer may not offer dynamic play, but he does offer consistency in terms of knowing the system.

        • rocky7

          I think you might want to talk with Bill B about that…..its all about winning…he’s not there to finish second and never has been….that’s the true Patriots Way!

        • rocky7

          Knowing the system isn’t going to win games for you…its performing on the field and Hoyer is a sub .500 QB when its counts…..that defines the Patriots Way…winning not just competing!

          • Ak185

            Um, that’s how you compete. Right now, Bill does not have all the tools he would like in a single player at that position. He has a guy who has injury questions and is new, a guy new to the league in general, and a guy who will certainly do what he wants the way he wants it. Each offers something different, and you won’t know which is best until you get into the season.

            I’m not sure what you mean, rocky. How do you think coaches manage teams? Winning doesn’t just magically happen. You have to build your team in a way that gives them the best chance to succeed. If all goes haywire, Belichick wants someone who knows how to do what Belichick feels secure doing. Hoyer’s record is not really that relevant as a backup. He’s not the future of the team. Belichick has a couple of guys who are new and uncertain bets. He needs someone else that he can trust.

    • rocky7

      If Hoyer is your “safety net” and he’s actually not only playing but starting then you are doomed as a team….even the Pats system will not be able to overcome the fact that Hoyer is a back up at best and will not elevate the team play at all….caretaker/warm body at the position at best…..even Bill B couldn’t make up for his “abilities” at the QB position……just look at his overall record the last several years and then think of him as a potential starter….a very scary proposition.

  4. MBarry

    Cam needs to prove himself and earn a spot on the team. It would be cheaper to drop Cam than Hoyer. Cam is high risk/high reward at this point and if Cam isn’t great, he won’t last. I see the Patriots either playing for the Super Bowl w/Cam or aiming at a #1 QB pick and riding out the year with Stidham/Hoyer.

    • Ak185

      Hoyer’s costing them 2 million, either way. Cam’s only guaranteed a quarter of that. The only way Cam is cheaper to cut than to pay is if he does not reach his incentives, which are mostly play-time based. Mostly, I’m saying that Hoyer is already paid and if Cam does not play, he is very cheap.

      You may have been referring to the cost of playing Cam, in which case he’d be the more expensive player. If so, I apologize for misinterpreting. But, again, Hoyer’s 2 million is on the books either way. The only reason to cut him would be a roster spot, not cap savings.

      • phenomenalajs

        Rocky7, As a Jet fan, I have no love for the Pats but I understand it was always the system over TB12. They’ve succeeded over stretches without him with the likes of Matt Cassell, Jimmy Garoppolo, and Jacoby Brissett.

        • Pats Fan Biff

          They missed the playoffs with Cassel, with most of the historic offense at his disposal. Jimmy G and Brissette played a mere 4 games, hardly worthy of any mention.

          This whole “system QB” drivel is pathetic. Brady racked up top 3 all time numbers over his career, you don’t get that by being a “system qb”, People really need to look up the definition and actual examples instead of being a clueless individual hating on the success Brady had over his career.

  5. JJB0811

    I’d be fine w/ getting $2m then getting fired! Chill out and watch football from the warmth of your home, rather than freezing in NE winter’s!

  6. agentx

    With apologies for not having any insightful football commentary, I must say I laughed out loud at Zach’s choice of words about Hoyer possibly ending up “back on the curb.”

  7. Pats Fan Biff

    I am curious as to who the “many” thought Hoyer was slated to be the starter…

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