Brian Hoyer

Patriots Notes: Edelman, Hoyer, Punter

Over the past 10 years, there have only been two occasions where the Patriots have carried three quarterbacks. With Tom Brady and rookie fourth-rounder Jarrett Stidham being locks to make the team, Brian Hoyer understandably finds himself on the roster bubble.

“You can’t really worry about that. My approach is to just be the best I can be, and I think that will be good enough,” Hoyer told ESPN’s Mike Reiss. “It’s not something I’m really concerned with. If anything, I’m trying to push the guy ahead of me, and I love being in that room with him. We have such a healthy competition on a daily basis, and I know that’s made me that much better since I’ve come back.”

After spending the first three years of his career with the Patriots, Hoyer returned to New England following the Jimmy Garoppolo trade in 2017. Reiss notes that the 33-year-old has been “very sharp” over the past few weeks, which could end up validating his spot on the roster.

Let’s check out some more notes out of New England…

  • Patriots wideout Julian Edelman has passed his physical and been removed from the non-football injury list, reports ESPN’s Field Yates (via Twitter). The veteran suffered a thumb injury in late-July that ultimately sidelined him for about three weeks. It’s been a busy few days for the Pats’ wide receiver corps. Embattled wideout Josh Gordon was reinstated from suspension on Friday, and he was subsequently placed on the team’s active/NFI list. To make room on the roster, the organization moved on from Dontrelle Inman.
  • The Patriots are set to release veteran punter Ryan Allen, but it sounds like they might not be ready to hand over the keys to rookie Jake Bailey. Ryan Dunleavy of NJ.com tweets that the Patriots made a claim for punter Johnny Townsend, who was waived by the Raiders last week. The Giants ended up claiming the 2018 fifth-rounder.
  • While the Patriots tight end depth chart is still a question mark, Nick Underhill of The Athletic writes that the team’s offense is trending upwards. Last week, the team was running out the likes of Braxton Berrios and Gunner Olszewski with their first-team offense. Several days later, the team’s depth chart has been revamped. It goes beyond the return of Edelman and Gordon, as the team has potentially found some worthy targets in undrafted wideout Jakobi Meyers and third-round running back Damien Harris. Add that pair to Phillip Dorsett and first-rounder N’Keal Harry (as well as running backs James White, Sony Michel, and Rex Burkhead), and there’s plenty of reason for optimism in New England.

Patriots Notes: Thomas, Michel, Gronk, Wynn

Demaryius Thomas is not a lock to make the Patriots’ 53-man roster and may well begin the season on the reserve/PUP list. The Patriots started that process Sunday by placing the Pro Bowl wide receiver on their active/PUP list, which applies to players not healthy enough to begin participating in training camp. The Pats used the same designation for Sony Michel, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Michel will certainly be part of the 2019 Patriots and is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Thomas tore an Achilles in December, joining longtime receiver teammate Emmanuel Sanders in that regard. The latter, however, is further along in his recovery, having not started Broncos camp on the PUP list.

Here is the latest out of New England:

  • Patriots third-round pick Yodny Cajuste underwent quadriceps surgery before the draft and landed on the defending Super Bowl champions’ reserve/NFI list, Mike Reiss of ESPN.com tweets. As is the case with the active/PUP list, players can come off this list at any point during camp. Cajuste figures to mix in as a swing option for the Patriots as a rookie.
  • If Rob Gronkowski does follow through on a comeback, might the Patriots be wise to assure him blocking responsibilities will be limited? While the future Hall of Famer was a plus blocker for his position, Jim McBride of the Boston Globe suggests the Pats use Gronk as a hybrid-type player that does not have the same kind of in-line role he previously held. The 30-year-old icon has slimmed down this offseason, one that has reportedly not featured much in the way of strength work.
  • Deatrich Wise and Nate Ebner will join Thomas and Michel on the Pats’ active/PUP list, Reiss tweets. A third-year defensive end, Wise has not missed a game in two seasons.
  • Isaiah Wynn, however, will not appear on the Pats’ active/PUP list, Reiss adds (via Twitter). The 2018 first-round pick missed all of his rookie season due to a torn Achilles’ tendon. Suffering the injury before last season began, Wynn is expected to suit up when the Patriots convene for their 2019 camp and line up as New England’s starting left tackle.
  • The Pats do not appear to have an open spot at quarterback, with Reiss noting Brian Hoyer will stick as Tom Brady‘s top backup and rookie Jarrett Stidham is likely assured of a roster spot as the team’s latest developmental QB project. This puts 2018 seventh-round pick Danny Etling on the verge of again falling short of a spot on the team’s active roster. But he may have an outside shot as a Taysom Hill-like role, per Reiss. While the Purdue and LSU alum never rushed for more than 200 yards in a season in college, Reiss points to his 86-yard touchdown run during 2018 preseason play as a sign this outside-the-box notion could work. The Patriots probably aren’t too eager to take Brady off the field, however.

AFC Rumors: Chiefs, Raiders, Steelers

De’Anthony Thomas was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia possession on Saturday, according to the Allen County (Kan.) Sheriff’s Office (via KMBC.com). The Chiefs wide receiver has since been released from Allen County Jail on bond. Thomas has played his entire NFL career with the Chiefs, signing a one-year deal to return to the team in 2018 after his rookie contract expired. The wideout’s latest Kansas City deal expired after this season. Thomas, 26, landed on IR in October.

As the Patriots venture to Atlanta for Super Bowl LIII, here is the latest from the AFC:

  • Needs exist at many spots on the Raiders‘ roster, but they are expected to conduct a defense-heavy draft, Scott Bair of NBC Sports Bay Area notes. Oakland added several defenders in free agency last year, most of whom on one-year deals. The Silver and Black finished with an incredible 13 sacks — 17 fewer than the next-closest team (the Giants) this season and fewest in a season since the 2008 Chiefs, who also traded their best pass rusher that year (Jared Allen), recorded just 10 — and lack long-term answers at just about every position defensively. The Khalil Mack and Amari Cooper trades garnered the Raiders, whose own first-round pick became No. 4 overall, the Nos. 24 and 27 selections.
  • The Steelers exercised Bud Dupree‘s fifth-year option last May but have not decided on his long-term status with the team, per Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dupree collected 5.5 sacks this season and has 20 in his career but has not lived up to his first-round billing. Dupree’s option price is $9.23MM. It would not be surprising if neither Dupree nor 2016 first-round pick Artie Burns inked second contracts with the Steelers, Fittipaldo writes. Burns’ fifth-year option decision is due in May. Considering Burns played just 308 snaps this season and will carry an option cost of close to $10MM, it would be incredibly surprising if Pittsburgh exercised it.
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered an injury in Sunday’s Pro Bowl. While the Associated Press notes the injury that caused the Steelers wideout to leave the game was just a bruised knee, the second-year wideout was limping en route to the AFC team bus. Smith-Schuster may be on the verge of becoming Pittsburgh’s centerpiece receiver, should Antonio Brown be dealt. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be in danger of missing OTA time, however.
  • Included in Seth Wickersham’s must-read ESPN.com piece about the Jimmy Haslam-era Browns: a near-deal that would have added to the Browns and Texans‘ unique quarterback pipeline. After Cleveland chose Johnny Manziel in the 2014 first round, then-Browns GM Ray Farmer had to calm down a “furious” Brian Hoyer. The Texans soon called to offer their No. 33 overall pick for Cleveland’s then-starting quarterback, but Farmer declined the deal to get control of a draft that had gone haywire (with Mike Pettine leading the way for Justin Gilbert and Haslam behind the Manziel move). Hoyer played one more season with the Browns and in 2015 signed with the Texans, who used that No. 33 pick on offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo.

Extra Points: Patriots, Maxwell, Peterson

Following months of speculation, the Patriots finally pulled the trigger on a Jimmy Garoppolo trade during last week’s deadline. Today, coach Bill Belichick provided some clarity on the transaction, noting that the team did not shop around the quarterback during this past offseason.

“There was no market to trade Jimmy in April, on our end,” Belichick said during an appearance on WEEI (via Doug Kyed of NESN.com). “I don’t really care what the offer was. I don’t even know what the offers were, or would have been. There was no interest on our end in making that deal. It didn’t really matter what the offer was, or would the offer would have been. I don’t really know what they were because we never entertained it.

“As I said, we had the best depth at that position probably of any team in the league, or at least we felt like we did. Maybe other teams felt different, I don’t know. We had great depth at that position. It was a tremendous situation to have two quarterbacks of the caliber we’ve had the past call it two and a half years from when Jimmy was ready. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t sustainable.”

There were whispers that the Browns had pursued Garoppolo during the offseason, but it sounds like the Patriots weren’t even willing to pick up the phone.

Let’s take a look at some other notes from around the NFL…

  • Brian Hoyer has a number of suitors after he was let go by the 49ers, but the quarterback told Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com that signing with the Patriots was a no-brainer. “I think for me, that was kind of the excitement of coming back home, and to be able to play behind Tom [Brady] and be in this organization,” Hoyer said. “And I was OK with. I think for me, having played a lot, you’re always ready to play, but it wasn’t going to work out for me to be a starter there in San Francisco the rest of this year, anyways, and probably not for next year. So I think for me, when I had an opportunity to come here and be the backup to Tom and in this organization, it was kind of a no-brainer.”
  • After working out with the Falcons, cornerback Byron Maxwell will not be signing a contract this evening, reports ESPN.com’s Vaughn McClure. Of course, the writer also notes that the defensive back hasn’t been ruled out, so a transaction could still be a possibility.
  • Even after he missed three field goal attempts on Sunday against Washington, the Seahawks say they will not move on from kicker Blair Walsh. “No, we will not,” coach Pete Carroll told reporters (via Brady Henderson of ESPN.com). “He’s 12-for-13 going into the game, guys. That was a hard day for whatever reason. We didn’t kick the ball off very well, either. It was just a hard day to kick the ball for us.” Walsh’s misses proved to be costly as Seattle lost by three points.
  • After a slow start to the season, Cardinals running back Adrian Peterson may actually reach some of his monetary incentives. As former agent Joel Corry notes on Twitter, the veteran’s contract calls for an extra $150K if he reaches 750 rushing yards. After compiling only 81 rushing yards in four games with the Saints, the veteran has collected 314 in three games with the Cardinals, meaning he only needs another 355 rushing yards in eight more games.
  • The number of agents certified by the NFL Players Association has risen 4%, from 795 to 830, Liz Mullen of SBJ writes. That figure includes 119 new agents who became certified this summer. Meanwhile, 84 agents either lost or dropped their certification. One can lose certification by not negotiating an NFL deal within a three-year period, missing the yearly union seminar, or not paying dues.

Zach Links contributed to this post.

NFC North Notes: Vikings, Teddy, Bears

There has been a lot of talk about whether Teddy Bridgwater will start for the Vikings upon his return, but GM Rick Speilman says the team is only focused on his health (link via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com).

All we’re concerned about is where he is this week,” Spielman said. “I know we’re evaluating him in practice every day. And then we’ll have to make a decision coming up next week — not if he’s going to start or not start, but if he’s going to come up to the 53. That’s the next step. And then, from there, the coaches will determine the rest of the way.”

The 6-2 Vikings have a Week 9 bye. After that, the team will assess where Bridgewater is in his recovery.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • The Vikings didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline but GM Rick Spielman indicated that several teams reached out about some of the team’s younger players (Twitter link via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com). Leading up to Halloween, Spielman said that the Vikings had some concerns about their depth at running back beyond Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray. However, they feel pretty set after claiming Mack Brown off of waivers from Washington.
  • The Bears have not seriously discussed bringing wide receiver Kevin White back from injured reserve this season, coach John Fox told reporters (Twitter link via Rich Campbell of the Chicago Tribune). White, unfortunately, was never viewed as an IR-DTR candidate, so Fox’s announcement doesn’t come as a big surprise.
  • The Packers‘ interest in Brian Hoyer was “cursory, at best,” according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com (on Twitter). After Hoyer signed with the Pats, it was reported that Green Bay had interest in signing the QB. Either way, the Packers will forge ahead with Brett Hundley as their No. 1 quarterback while Aaron Rodgers nurses a broken collarbone.

East Notes: Dolphins, Suh, Cousins

The Dolphins strongly denied a report indicating that they are ready to move on from defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. The Fins are telling the truth, Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald writes, but they were fed up with his behavior in years past. Since then, Suh has celebrated his 30th birthday and he seems to have turned over a new leaf in the locker room. Suh is in better standing with coaches, but there’s still the matter of his onerous contract. Suh counts for $19.1MM against the cap this season and that will climb to $26.1MM in 2018. The Dolphins could save up to $17MM in cap space by designating him a post-June 1 cut, but Salguero expects the two sides to discuss some kind of restructured deal to keep the union going.

Here’s more from the East divisions:

  • The 49ers’ trade for Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t alter Kirk Cousins‘ future with the Redskins, John Keim of ESPN.com opines. Even with the Niners out of the Cousins equation, the Redskins will still probably have to tag Cousins for a third consecutive year. However, the Redskins could get bold and use the less expensive transition tag on Cousins now that the cash-flush Niners are (ostensibly) out of the picture. With the transition tag, the Redskins would receive no compensation if they decline to match another team’s offer. The Cardinals, Jets, Jaguars, Ravens, Browns, and Broncos are among the clubs that could be in search of a QB this spring.
  • Brian Hoyer‘s three-year deal with the Patriots calls for him to earn $476K in 2017, $915K in 2018, and a $2.85MM base salary ($1.5MM of which is guaranteed) in 2019, according to Field Yates of ESPN.com (Twitter link). He could also earn a $200K roster bonus in ’19, bringing the total value of the deal to $4.44MM. The fifth day of the 2019 league year – the date the bonus is due – will be pivotal in determining whether Hoyer finishes out the full three-year pact, as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com notes. Per the terms of his previous deal with the Niners, Hoyer is eligible for termination pay from SF through 2018.

Packers Tried To Sign Brian Hoyer

Brian Hoyer is back with the Patriots. But, before he put pen to paper with New England, the Packers made a run at him, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter). Brian Hoyer (vertical)

Hoyer ultimately chose to sign a three-year deal with the Pats and his familiarity with their system presumably helped. Hoyer was with the Patriots from 2009-2011, so it won’t take long for him to get acquainted with their 2017 playbook.

Had he signed with the Packers, Hoyer presumably would have had an easier path to the field. It’s not clear if Hoyer would have displaced 24-year-old Brett Hundley as the starter, but it’s not hard to see a scenario in which Hundley would falter and give way to the veteran.

For now, Hundley will continue as the Packers’ sub for Aaron Rodgers in the wake of his broken collarbone. Joe Callahan, also 24, is the backup. In Hundley’s first start, the Packers lost 26-17 to the Saints.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Patriots To Sign QB Brian Hoyer

The Patriots have found their replacement for Jimmy Garoppolo in Brian Hoyer. The Pats met with Hoyer on Wednesday morning and inked him to a three-year deal, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter). Brian Hoyer (vertical)

Hoyer was not included in the Garoppolo trade, presumably because New England did not want to take on his two-year, $12MM deal. Hoyer is entitled to termination pay, so he’ll continue to collect on a good chunk of that deal while earning the minimum – or something close to it – in New England. Meanwhile, he goes from the 0-8 Niners to the defending champs.

Hoyer, 32, started six games for the Niners before getting benched in favor of C.J. Beathard. He threw four touchdowns against four interceptions and ranked near the bottom of just about every statistical category for quarterbacks.

He’s not a star, but the Patriots feel that he can be a capable backup in the event that Tom Brady suffers an injury. He also has familiarity with the team thanks to his time with the Pats from 2009-2011. Of course, they’ll also be keeping their fingers crossed extra tight for Brady’s health since they converted a much better safety net into a second-round pick.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

49ers To Release QB Brian Hoyer

After acquiring quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots, the 49ers are releasing veteran signal-caller Brian Hoyer, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (Twitter link).Brian Hoyer (Vertical)

With Garoppolo now in tow, San Francisco had no need for Hoyer, who inked a two-year deal with the club this season. Rookie C.J. Beathard will presumably serve as Garoppolo’s backup, while Hoyer — who had admittedly struggled through a half-season in the Bay Area — will now hit the open market.

Although completely speculative, the Patriots stand out as an obvious suitor for Hoyer. After trading Garoppolo, New England no longer has a quarterback on the roster aside from starter Tom Brady. Hoyer spent the 2009-11 campaigns with the Patriots after signing as an undrafted free agent, so he offers experience in the New England system. And he’ll also come cheap given that he’ll earn termination pay from the 49ers, meaning he can now comfortably sign for the minimum.

Indeed, Hoyer was originally included as part of the Patriots’ return for Garoppolo, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (Twitter link). However, because Hoyer was signed as a free agent this offseason, he would have counted in New England’s 2018 compensatory pick calculation, and would have canceled out a Pats fourth- or fifth-rounder next year, tweets Nick Korte of Over the Cap.

Hoyer, 32, started six games for the 49ers before getting benched in favor of Beathard, and didn’t perform nearly as well as he had with the Bears in 2016. While completing just 58% of his passes, Hoyer tossed four touchdowns against four interceptions, and ranked 28th in adjusted net yards per pass attempt and 30th in quarterback rating.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

West Rumors: Chiefs, 49ers, Hoyer

Chiefs starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif exited Monday night’s game in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury. Tests on Tuesday morning will determine the extent of the injury and the team is hopeful that it is an MCL injury and not an ACL tear, Terez Paylor of the Kansas City Star tweets.

The Chiefs and Duvernay-Tardif agreed to a five-year, $41.25MM extension in the offseason, making him one of the league’s highest-paid interior linemen. Losing him for a lengthy period of time would be a setback for KC.

Here’s more from the West divisions:

  • 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says he not given any consideration to a quarterback change, as Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee writes. For now, the Niners are sticking with Brian Hoyer, but it sounds like Shanahan will not hesitate to yank him if he feels it would benefit the team. “I think he needs to play better,” Shanahan said of Hoyer. “And I think we can play better around him. … When you have the time and you have guys open, you need to hit them. I thought he struggled with that at times (Sunday). I know he can do better. But I also know when he did make throws, guys weren’t great at catching them for him, either.” If Hoyer gets the hook, rookie C.J. Beathard will get a chance to show what he can do.
  • The Rams will add Mike Thomas to the roster and go to seven wide receivers when he returns from suspension this week, coach Sean McVay said (Twitter link via Alden Gonzalez of ESPN.com). Thomas was hit with the ban in July for PED use.
  • Cardinals tackle D.J. Humphries is still out with an MCL injury and coach Bruce Arians doesn’t expect to see him back until two weeks from now, Josh Weinfuss of ESPN.com tweets.