Patriots continue post-Tom Brady era by bringing back QB Brian Hoyer

Jack Baer
Writer

The New England Patriots have added another quarterback to their roster, but the move didn’t add much clarity to where the team is going as it begins a post-Tom Brady era.

Veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer has agreed to a one-year, $1 million deal with the Patriots with an additional $2 million in incentives, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.

This will be Hoyer’s third stint in New England, having begun his career with the team as an undrafted free agent in 2009 and returned for two seasons to back up Brady in 2017-18. Hoyer spent last year with the Indianapolis Colts, who released him Saturday.

What will Hoyer’s role be on the Patriots without Tom Brady?

Unlike his previous tenure with the Patriots, Hoyer might just have a path to legitimate playing time with only Jarrett Stidham and Cody Kessler remaining on the New England depth chart. At least, that’s how his agent is pitching the deal.

“It someone offered him $5M or $6M to be a backup, Brian still would’ve wanted to be back in New England,” Hoyer’s agent, Joe Linta, said to Rapoport. “They gave him a chance to compete for the starting job, and that’s all he asked for.”

Of course, Hoyer’s second stint with the Patriots ended in his release during last year’s preseason when the team chose Stidham over him as Brady’s backup, so there is past indication the team likes the second-year passer over the veteran. Stidham spoke highly of his time with Hoyer as a training camp mentor.

“I can’t speak highly enough about Brian (Hoyer),” Stidham said on Sept. 1 last year. “He was here helping me every day. He’s a true veteran, a true pro.”

Hoyer has appeared in 23 games in five seasons with the Patriots, with zero starts.

Will Brian Hoyer make his first career start with the Patriots? (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

What other QBs could the Patriots add?

If Stidham, Hoyer and Kessler are it for the Patriots, it would certainly be a power move from Bill Belichick as he begins operating without his quarterback of two decades.

Stidham has all of four career pass attempts in the NFL’s regular season, and one of those was intercepted. The former fourth-round pick certainly has room to grow, but the Patriots aren’t exactly a team you’d expect to be patient there.

Hoyer has more than a decade of experience, but his track record doesn’t exactly scream “quarterback for a contending team.”

If the Patriots continue to look elsewhere for a potential starting quarterback — and they probably are — the remaining crop of free agents isn’t much more encouraging. Cam Newton, Joe Flacco and Jameis Winston are among the more notable names floating out there.

The possibility of a trade also remains, and, who knows, maybe the team has big plans for a draft class that is pretty deep in quarterback talent.

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