The New England Patriots signing journeyman quarterback Brian Hoyer won’t alleviate the loss of Tom Brady to NFL free agency. But what will Hoyer’s role be?
Veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer is going back to the New England Patriots, yet another stop on the journeyman’s 11-year career and his third stint with the Pats since they signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2009.
New England inked Hoyer to a one-year deal, according to a report on Sunday from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport:
Hoyer isn’t going to pick up where now-Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady left off, of course. That’s an open-ended question of how head coach Bill Belichick goes about continuing the Patriots’ reign of AFC East supremacy.
So, what will Hoyer’s role be?
As Rapoport mentioned, it doesn’t seem likely New England adds another quarterback. Especially with just under $5 million in available cap space. The NFL Draft is an option, yes. But there’s a possibility Belichick rolls with Hoyer, Cody Kessler and Jarrett Stidham this season.
Stidham would likely have the inside track to start in 2020. After all, Belichick elected to go with Stidham over Hoyer in 2019, which ended Hoyer’s second term in New England.
But Hoyer, who also understands and knows coordinator Josh McDaniels’ offensive system, is a capable and proven backup with moderate starting experience. Hoyer started 13 games with the Cleveland Browns back in 2014, then started nine the following year with the Houston Texans. The San Francisco 49ers even brought Hoyer aboard as a temporary starter in 2017 before letting him go in favor of Jimmy Garoppolo in that year’s trade with New England.
It’s far-fetched to assume Hoyer will be a quality starter, particularly at this stage of his career, which is why he probably won’t be viewed as such during this return to the Pats. A quality backup, yes, and someone who can at least push Stidham during training camp and into the regular season.
And if the Patriots wind up grabbing a quarterback in the 2020 draft, Hoyer could serve as an excellent veteran-presence mentor, too.
After all, even though Hoyer hasn’t been eye-popping exemplary over his career, there’s something to be said about his serviceability in a journeyman’s role. Despite never being a big-name player to watch, merely sticking around at the NFL level year after year is notable.
That’s something Belichick and the Pats probably want to pass down, too.
One should probably expect that to be Hoyer’s role this season, serving as an immediate backup to Stidham or, potentially, serving as a mentor to a rookie draftee if that’s the route New England takes this April.