May 21, 2014; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) during organized team activities at Cleveland Browns practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Would Brian Hoyer Gamble Career to Test Free Agency?


It looks like Browns’ quarterback Brian Hoyer is willing to bet on himself, and that decision could have a huge payout if and when the Cleveland native reaches free agency after this year. But would a journeyman quarterback who had two good games in 2014 before a season-ending ACL injury slowed him down be willing to walk from his hometown team?

That’s why it’s called “Negotiation,” folks.

The Cleveland St. Ignatius product is looking for an extension, and possibly starter-type money. It’s a good bargaining chip for Hoyer, as he goes to the discussion table as the No.1 quarterback on the depth chart entering training camp. He’ll only make $1 million this season, and that’s not the pay grade of an NFL starting quarterback.

The Browns know getting a deal done will be difficult to do, according to this ESPN Cleveland story from early June.

“It’s too hard of a deal to do,” agent Joe Linta said. “I think [Browns General Manager] Ray Farmer realizes it’s too hard of a deal to do, too. Brian’s value will be much more easily determined in January.”

Linta appeared on SiriusXM NFL Radio Tuesday and shed some more light on his client’s contract status. It still looks as if Hoyer is willing to ride things out and see how his season progresses.

There’s a couple schools of thought regarding Hoyer’s philosophy.

He knows Johnny Manziel is backing him up and there will be a push to play the former Heisman Trophy star at some point in 2014. If Manziel plays, it probably means Hoyer wasn’t getting the job done. Hoyer will then have to take a lower offer from the Browns, or enter free agency as a back-up.

On the flip side, Hoyer could prove he’s a successful NFL quarterback. If he can win in Cleveland, he’s in the driver’s seat and can call the shots.

Cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot gave Hoyer a 30 percent chance of reaching a new deal with the Browns.

“They’ll have to bee very creative to do it. It would be an incentive based contract…based on starting games, so Brian’s going to have make the decision. Do you want the injury protection…in the event you go down again?”

It’s hard to believe Hoyer would walk from the Browns if the team made a fair offer with some guaranteed money.

Two other quarterbacks are in similar spots as Hoyer. The Jaguars’ Chad Henne, and Vikings’ Matt Cassel each signed “bridge contracts” with potential rookie franchise quarterbacks looking over their shoulders.

Cassel signed a two-year, $10 million deal, while Henne inked a two-year, $8 million contract.

The difference between Hoyer and these other two journeymen is that the league already has a good idea of what Henne and Cassel can produce.

Hoyer is still an unknown commodity. If the former Michigan State star gets the Browns to the playoffs, he’ll need a Brinks trucks to haul his money to the bank.

Would it be smart for Brian Hoyer to bet on himself and not sign an extension with the Browns?

Tags: Brian Hoyer Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel

  • Deb Bacon

    Only time will tell if it’s a smart bet, but my guess is he will do it and it will pay off for him. Anybody that underestimates him, including Johnny Manziel, is making a big mistake.Having said that, as a Cleveland native myself, I wouldn’t bet against his desire to stay right where he is if at all possible.