Browns are trying to sign QB Brian Hoyer to a contract extension, per sources. Hoyer is headed into last year of his deal.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 30, 2014
But we all know who lurks.
Which makes this extension talk so fascinating.
Johnny Manziel is a "when" not "if" starter. he could wrest the job away from Hoyer as soon as Week 1, or as late as the final few weeks of the season. Look, it's happening, and the only way it's not this season is if Hoyer — who was 3-0 as a starter last season, and the only QB to give the Browns life — gets hot early and leads the team to a playoff bid. Would that be shocking? No, but surprising, yes.
But you can step back and see the obvious wisdom in the Browns wanting a Hoyer extension.
One, he's hard working. You know what you're going to get with him. Hoyer backed up Tom Brady, and knows what it takes to be special in that department. Plus, even though Hoyer's talent might be understated as a former undrafted free agent coming into the league, he certainly has worked to get where he is.
That's the kind of thing that could be the perfect template for Manziel. You can envision a scenario where Mike Pettine explains to Manziel that he did not win the starting job and that he'll have to learn from Hoyer while he waits. That would not be a bad thing at all if Manziel were to heed that advice.
Two, Hoyer can play. Look at the quality of backup quarterbacks in this league — it's shoddy in a lot of cases. Teams that have two starting-caliber quarterbacks are few and far between. Hoyer's accuracy might not be top-notch, but he has guts, intelligence and enough physical talent to win in spells.
Three, if you're going to have Manziel step in eventually, you know that his sometimes reckless style is going to make him more susceptible to injury. Yes, the Browns have invested heavily in their offensive line, but Manziel was a bit battered at Texas A&M — home of the best college OL factory going now — and certainly is going to be that way at times in the NFL.
This all makes sense ... for the Browns.
But if you're Hoyer, do you gamble on yourself to do well and hope to land a deal elsewhere to potentially start? It's risky. After all, his upside is very limited, and there only are so many Matt Cassels who continue to be handed starting gigs for so long. Hoyer turns 29 in Week 7 and could be smart to work out a deal as the present starter and the future hero who comes in to rescue the Browns when Manziel almost inevitably goes down with injury.
According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, who spoke to Hoyer's agent, Joe Linta, they might be willing to wait to see how this one plays out.
"It will be a very difficult deal to do," Linta said. "We're always open to talking with the Browns, but we're content to wait and see what happens down the road."
It will be fascinating to see how this one — especially the particulars, such as money and years, if it gets done — turns out.
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