Brian Hoyer

Jets Tried To Sign Brian Hoyer

Brian Hoyer signed a deal to return to the Patriots this past week, but they apparently had real competition from another AFC East team.

The Jets “made attempts to sign Hoyer,” a source told Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com (Twitter link). We heard all the way back in early April that the Jets had met with Hoyer, but we didn’t know until now they made a serious push.

Fowler writes that New York wanted Hoyer as a backup to rookie starter Zach Wilson, but that the veteran journeyman lives in the New England area. That combined with “his familiarity with Patriots helped put signing with N.E. over the top.”
It’s an interesting choice from Hoyer, since the Patriots’ quarterbacks room is more crowded. They’ve got Cam Newton, Mac Jones, and Jarrett Stidham already on the roster. Newton and Jones are presumably guaranteed roster spots, so Hoyer and Stidham could be battling it out for the final gig.
Right now the Jets only have youngsters James Morgan and Mike White behind Wilson, so they’ll presumably be adding a veteran backup/mentor at some point.

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Patriots Re-Sign QB Brian Hoyer

The Patriots are re-signing a familiar face. New England is signing veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer to a one-year deal, reports ESPN’s Adam Schefter (via Twitter). Jim McBride of the Boston Globe was first with the news (on Twitter).

Hoyer has had three stints with the Patriots throughout his 12-year career, earning a Super Bowl ring as Tom Brady‘s backup in 2018. Following a one-year stint with the Colts in 2019, Hoyer re-joined the Patriots last offseason following Brady’s defection to Tampa Bay. Hoyer ended up starting a single game for New England, completing 15 of his 24 pass attempts for 130 yards, no touchdowns, one interception, and a fumble. The veteran didn’t end up seeing the field again following that Week 4 loss to the Chiefs.

This offseason, Hoyer was briefly mentioned as a potential option for the Jets as a backup, but he’ll instead be heading back to New England. The team’s depth chart looks a bit different in 2021. The team used the 15th-overall pick on Mac Jones, and the rookie is expected to compete with 2020 starter Cam Newton for the starting gig. As Ben Volin of the Boston Globe tweets, Newton could serve as Jones’ competition while Hoyer could serve an important role as Jones’ mentor.

This signing is probably bad news for Jarrett Stidham. Following Brady’s decision to join Tampa Bay last offseason, there were some whispers that the 2019 fourth-round pick could end up inheriting the starting job. Instead, Stidham started a whopping zero games, although he did complete 50-percent of his passes for 256 yards, two scores, and three interceptions in limited snaps.

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Jets Notes: Mosley, Draft Plans, Hoyer

The Jets reportedly received trade calls on linebacker C.J. Mosley this offseason, and Rich Cimini of ESPN.com says Mosley remains a trade candidate. As Randy Lange of the team’s official website writes, new head coach Robert Saleh recently offered high praise for Mosley, calling him a tremendous leader and player. Saleh also said Mosley is good enough to thrive in any system, including the 4-3 scheme that Saleh plans to implement (Mosley has not played in a 4-3 since he turned pro).

But New York did sign Jarrad Davis in free agency, and the team has been speculatively linked to high-end linebackers in the draft, like Notre Dame’s Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. If GM Joe Douglas does select an LB with a Day 1 or Day 2 choice, that could make a Mosley trade more likely (though obviously the return on such a trade would be minimal given Mosley’s contract and the fact that he has played all of two games in the last two years).

Now for more notes on the Jets:

  • Although Gang Green is going to select QB Zach Wilson with the No. 2 overall pick, there is plenty of uncertainty as to what the club will do with the No. 23 overall selection. Cimini believes the team will ultimately go with a player to help Wilson, whether that’s an offensive lineman or a wide receiver. If that’s how Douglas is leaning, he might need to trade up to get the prospect he wants, and Connor Hughes of The Athletic tweets that Douglas has already done the “groundwork” on a potential move up the board.
  • Cornerback also profiles as a major need for the Jets, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them use the No. 23 pick or another early selection on a CB. According to Cimini, the club is intrigued by Syracuse corner Ifeatu Melifonwu, who looks like a second- or third-round talent. If the team doesn’t get a slot corner at some point in the draft, Hughes says the team could look to re-sign Brian Poole, whose 2020 season was cut short by injury but who has played well in his two seasons in the Meadowlands.
  • If the Jets don’t go with an offensive lineman with their second first-round choice, Hughes expects them to grab one with the No. 34 pick, and he also thinks they could pick up another blocker with one of their two third-round selections.
  • New York brought in veteran QB Brian Hoyer for a visit earlier this month, and he looks like an ideal backup/mentor for Wilson. Hughes reports that the team is likely to commence contract talks with the 35-year-old signal-caller after the draft.

Jets To Meet With QB Brian Hoyer

In the process of assembling a mostly new quarterback depth chart, the Jets will meet with an available veteran. Brian Hoyer will visit the Jets on Thursday, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

The 35-year-old passer spent the 2020 season with the Patriots, his third stint with the team, and has a history with new Jets coach Robert Saleh and OC Mike LaFleur. Hoyer was the first 49ers starter under Kyle Shanahan, opening the 2017 season in that role. Saleh and LaFleur were in their initial months as 49ers staffers that season as well.

The 49ers signed Hoyer to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2017 and used him as their starter in six games. The then-rebuilding team went 0-6 in those contests and eventually released Hoyer in-season, having acquired Jimmy Garoppolo from the Patriots. Hoyer finished that season replacing Garoppolo as Tom Brady‘s backup, a role he held earlier in his career and one he reprised in 2018.

Hoyer’s most extensive work came with the Browns in 2014, when McDaniel was on staff as a coaching intern, and the Texans in 2015. He went 7-6 as the Cleveland starter in ’14, before being benched for Johnny Manziel, and trekked to Houston and Chicago in the ensuing seasons. After Hoyer landed a three-year, $12MM Colts deal in 2019 — one the Colts shed in 2020 — he joined Cam Newton and Jarrett Stidham as part of the Pats’ first post-Brady QB mix. Overall, Hoyer has played in 70 games and started 39 in his 12-season career.

Last season, the Jets featured Joe Flacco as Sam Darnold‘s backup. Both are now with other teams, with Flacco joining the Eagles ahead of this week’s Darnold trade, leaving Mike White and 2020 fourth-round pick James Morgan as the only QBs on Gang Green’s roster. The Jets are expected to add Zach Wilson at No. 2 overall, but they will almost certainly bring in a veteran mentor-type passer as well. Hoyer would qualify as such.

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Latest On Patriots’ QB Outlook

We heard at the beginning of January that the Patriots and quarterback Cam Newton were unlikely to reunite in 2021, but a report from earlier this week suggested that the the door is not closed on a Newton return to Foxborough next season. And multiple sources tell Ben Volin of the Boston Globe that they would not be surprised to see the Pats re-sign the 2015 league MVP.

After all, HC Bill Belichick reportedly loved coaching Newton, and Volin hears that even after the 2020 campaign, Belichick has raved about the effort that Newton put forth last season. He is concerned about Newton’s arm strength — which is understandable given the 31-year-old’s disappointing passing performance during his first season with New England — but he appears open to continuing the relationship just the same. Newton, meanwhile, has been similarly candid about how much he enjoyed playing for the Pats, so if the two sides can agree to another inexpensive contract, a re-up could be in the cards.

Of course, the club has also had conversations about every quarterback in the league that could be available via trade, and the expectation remains that the Pats will select a QB in the early rounds of this year’s draft (perhaps with their No. 15 overall selection). So if Newton comes back, it obviously won’t be as anything more than a bridge option to a younger passer, and Mike Reiss of ESPN.com suggests that the team could even re-sign Newton and pair him with another veteran.

If New England goes that route, one obvious option would be to re-sign longtime Patriot Brian Hoyer, as Volin notes. Volin also believes that Mitchell Trubisky could be on the Pats’ radar, and at this point in their respective careers, Trubisky certainly appears to have a higher ceiling than Newton. Some have connected the dots between New England and former Belichick draftee Jacoby Brissett, but Volin sees a Brissett signing as unlikely since he did not “click” with Belichick and OC Josh McDaniels before he was dealt to the Colts in 2017. Assuming the Patriots do end up adding two QBs this offseason, Jarrett Stidham‘s roster status will be very much in doubt.

One collegiate signal-caller that has been routinely mocked to the Patriots is Alabama QB Mac Jones. As Reiss notes in the piece linked above, former New England OC Charlie Weis was effusive in his praise of Jones, and Weis sees him as a perfect fit in the Pats’ offense. Though he is not as athletic as some of the other passers in this year’s class, Jones is more than capable of moving around in the pocket and can make accurate throws to every part of the field.

If the Pats really want Jones, though, they may have to trade up from the No. 15 pick. His stock is rising, and ESPN draftniks Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay both believe he will be off the board by the time New England is on the clock.

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Jarrett Stidham To Start For Pats If Cam Newton Is Unavailable

The Patriots are currently scheduled to play the Broncos on Monday, and if starting QB Cam Newton is unable to take the field, New England will turn to second-year passer Jarrett Stidham, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports (via Twitter). Newton has been taking part in Zoom meetings with the team, and there is still hope that he will be able to suit up.

Of course, Newton’s positive COVID-19 test sidelined him for last week’s matchup against the Chiefs, and though New England’s defense generally held its own against Patrick Mahomes & Co., the club was clearly missing the 2015 league MVP. The Pats turned to veteran Brian Hoyer to start the game, but Hoyer lost track of his team’s timeouts at the end of the first half, and he lost a fumble late in the third quarter. Both mistakes likely cost New England points.

Hoyer was benched in favor of Stidham, and the Auburn product kept the Pats in the game on a nice TD pass to N’Keal Harry, but he ultimately threw two interceptions in just 13 pass attempts (though to be fair, one of them was really receiver Julian Edelman‘s fault, and the other came on something of a desperation heave that Stidham might not have tried but for the score of the game at that point). Given that Stidham, a 2019 fourth-round selection, clearly offers more upside than Hoyer, it makes sense that the Pats would look his way.

Of course, Stidham appeared to be the leading candidate to open the 2020 season as the Patriots’ starting signal-caller until Newton fell into their laps at the end of June. Then, a disappointing training camp that included some injury concerns forced the team to slide Stidham behind Hoyer on the depth chart. Stidham will surely welcome the opportunity to rebuild his stock if Newton has to sit.

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Patriots Name Cam Newton Starting QB

No surprises here, but the Patriots have named Cam Newton their starting quarterback, as Jim McBride of the Boston Globe was first to report. Andrew Callahan of the Boston Herald adds that Newton has been voted a team captain (Twitter link).

For a long time after Tom Brady‘s abdication, New England insisted that it was comfortable moving forward with second-year pro Jarrett Stidham as its starting signal-caller. But the team managed to sign Newton for peanuts at the end of June, and as soon as that happened, the 2015 MVP became the odds-on favorite to succeed Brady as the Patriots’ QB1.

Newton has undergone three surgeries since the beginning of the 2017 offseason — two shoulder procedures and a foot operation — and he has missed 16 of the last 18 games. His 2019 season was almost completely wiped out by injury, but he looked like his usual brilliant self through the first 12 weeks of the 2018 campaign, and he ended that year having completed a career-best 67.9% of his throws for 3,395 yards, 24 TDs, and 13 picks. He also showed that he can still make plays with his feet – he tallied 488 rushing yards and four scores on 101 carries.

The most recent reports out of training camp suggested that Newton has not been perfect in practices, but he has been plenty good enough to beat out Stidham — who has been dealing with a hip injury — and Brian Hoyer. And he clearly has ingratiated himself with his new teammates, as evidenced by his captaincy.

Things will feel very different in Foxborough this year without Brady, but between Newton and the Pats’ defense, New England may not be ready to give up its stranglehold on the AFC East just yet.

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Patriots Notes: QBs, Dugger, Jackson

The Patriots did not guarantee Cam Newton the starting quarterback job after they signed him in late June, but assuming Newton is healthy, it would be shocking to see anyone else under center come Week 1. And the 2015 MVP was a “full go” when practices started earlier this month, so all signs are pointing towards Newton serving as New England’s signal-caller when the season opens in a few weeks.

Jeff Howe of The Athletic details how the “competition” has unfolded over the first few practices. Newton has taken the majority of first-team reps, and while he has not been perfect, his accuracy has been impressive. Jarrett Stidham, the second-year pro who was in line to replace Tom Brady before the Newton acquisition, has been dealing with a hip injury, and he has also struggled with interceptions. The team is not concerned about Stidham’s health, but the turnovers aren’t helping his cause.

Brian Hoyer, meanwhile, has had an up-and-down camp thus far, but considering his experience and familiarity with the Patriots’ offense, Howe says the 34-year-old remains an option to start during the early stages of the season.

Now for more notes out of Foxborough:

  • The Patriots’ top draft choice in 2020, safety Kyle Dugger, may struggle to see early playing time on defense because of how much the condensed offseason is impacting rookies’ abilities to learn the pro game. But as Mike Reiss of ESPN.com writes, the team is eyeing Dugger as its top return specialist. The Lenoir-Rhyne product returned 67 punts for 929 yards and six TDs during his collegiate career.
  • In the same piece linked above, Reiss says Jermaine Eluemunor is in the mix to replace Marcus Cannon — who opted out of the 2020 season — at right tackle. Though Yodny Cajuste appeared to be the favorite for the job, Reiss writes in a separate post that Cajuste, a 2019 third-rounder, appears to be buried on the depth chart.
  • Reiss adds that J.C. Jackson‘s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, has touched base with the Patriots about an extension for his client. As a former UDFA, Jackson is now extension-eligible despite having just two years of service time. He has become a key piece of New England’s secondary and has recorded eight interceptions over his first two professional seasons.
  • Lamar Miller‘s one-year deal with the Pats will feature a $1.05MM base salary with $200K guaranteed, as Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Miller can earn up to $1.5MM more in achievable incentives.

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.

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South Notes: Colts, Hoyer, Texans, Bucs

Before the Colts released Brian Hoyer last week, they discussed trading the veteran quarterback to the Patriots, the club that ultimately signed Hoyer once he was cut, as Stephen Holder of The Athletic writes. The conversations seemed to be at least somewhat serious in nature, as Holder reports trade compensation was discussed, but a deal never came together. Had New England acquired Hoyer, it would have been responsible for the rest of the three-year, $12MM contract Hoyer signed with Indianapolis in 2019. Instead, the Patriots inked Hoyer to a one-year, $1.05MM pact that includes up to $2MM in available incentives.

Here’s more from the NFL’s two South divisions:

  • The Texans have been widely panned for the trade which sent wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona and running back David Johnson to Houston, and the terms of Johnson’s contract aren’t going to make matters improve. Johnson, whose 2020 base salary of $10.2MM is already guaranteed, saw $2.1MM of his 2021 salary become fully guaranteed last Friday, tweets Mike Garafolo of NFL.com. The veteran back is scheduled to count for more than $11MM on the Texans’ salary cap in 2020 before that figure drops to $9MM in 2021.
  • In other Texans contract news, linebacker Benardrick McKinney‘s $6MM base salary for 2020 is now fully guaranteed, per Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). McKinney, who inked a five-year, $50MM extension with Houston in 2018, previously had this year’s base salary guaranteed for injury only. The inside linebacker market has exploded since McKinney signed that pact, as his $10MM annual salary now ranks just 12th at the position.
  • After making the biggest move in franchise history by signing Tom Brady to a free agent deal, the Buccaneers still have work to do in the upcoming draft. Tampa Bay still wants to find a pass-catching running back to work alongside Ronald Jones, while right tackle is also an an area that could be addressed, as Greg Auman of The Athletic writes. The Bucs did sign former Colts offensive lineman Joe Haeg as an option on the right side, but the 27-year-old has only started six total games in the past two seasons.