While the Cleveland Browns appear confident in Brandon Weeden as their short-term starting quarterback, GM Michael Lombardi isn’t sold on their depth at the position.
On Thursday, the Browns signed free agent Brian Hoyer, who was released this week by the Arizona Cardinals, to a two-year deal. Now headed for Cleveland, Hoyer will compete with the likes of Jason Campbell and Thaddeus Lewis for the No. 2 gig.
The added competition, however, isn’t the most positive aspect of the Hoyer signing. It’s the long-term implications that make the most sense in this low-risk, medium-reward move.
At this point in his career, Hoyer hasn’t exactly proven himself as a capable NFL quarterback. In his short stint as the Cardinals’ signal caller last season, he was almost as ineffective as the rest of their inept gunslingers, completing 56.6 percent of his passes for 330 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for a 65.8 passer rating. Not exactly the type of stats you’d expect from a future starter.
The aforementioned future implication, though, is that Hoyer could develop into the Browns’ long-term backup. He will likely never be a quality starter, but provides the intrigue that most late-round rookies and aging veterans can’t as a backup.
Through his first three seasons in the NFL, Hoyer learned behind future Hall of Famer Tom Brady after beating out four other quarterbacks as an undrafted rookie in 2009. That kind of mentoring has to have some sort of positive impact on the overall outlook on his career. It may take some time, but there are still indications that Hoyer could develop into a long-term backup for the Browns if given the proper coaching.
Hoyer fell off the Bill Belichick tree, so there’s some sort of potential. Even if he sticks with the Browns as their No. 3 for the time being, there’s no telling what the future may hold for the Michigan State alum.
The upside exists in Hoyer, even if it’s hard to find on film. Only time will tell if anything comes of it.