Yesterday, during the daily post-practice presser, Cleveland Browns coach Mike Pettine was asked about the team’s recent signing of veteran QB Rex Grossman. More specifically, he was asked if Grossman’s signing makes Brian Hoyer, currently competing for the starting quarterback position, expendable.
“Absolutely not,” Pettine said, without the slightest hesitation.
However, this hasn’t done anything to quell the rumors throughout the NFL. Most recently, word started rumbling about the Browns possibly dealing Hoyer to the Houston Texans in return for wideout Andre Johnson.
This can’t actually be true, can it?
First of all, the deal would actually make sense on both sides. The Texans QB depth is a big red flag for the team this season, and Hoyer could definitely help out there. Houston coach Bill O’Brien spent time with Hoyer when both were with the New England Patriots, and is reportedly a fan of the veteran quarterback.
On the other end, the Browns badly need help at receiver. Josh Gordon is still awaiting word on his potential suspension for failing a drug test, though he’s expected to miss eight games at the very least. Beyond him, Cleveland’s receiving corps is made up of vets and undrafted rookies, none of which seem to be anything more than average. In Johnson, the Browns would get an immediate boost, as well as a devastating combo once Gordon returns.
Again, though, just how much weight can we put in this latest rumor?
Honestly, it doesn’t really sound like it’ll ever be more than buzz. This is mainly due to the fact Hoyer is still competing to be the Browns’ starting QB. Cleveland is just one week into the preseason, and there doesn’t appear to be a clear winner in the quarterback competition between Hoyer and Johnny Manziel. Why, despite the contest appearing relatively even, would the Browns suddenly declare Manziel the winner and send Hoyer packing?
On the other hand, though Johnson has stated his unhappiness with the Texans, he hasn’t said much since camp started up. Even if Houston was trying to deal him, you have to believe the team could get better returns than a relatively unproven Hoyer and, perhaps, a draft pick.
Of course, if there is substance to this rumor, it’s something the Browns should consider. As mentioned, though Hoyer is still hanging in there to try and win the starting gig, Cleveland’s receiver depth is about as shallow as a kiddie pool. If they can net someone of Johnson’s caliber for Hoyer, it could be a deal too tempting to turn down.
However, it’s still highly unlikely something like this goes down, at least now. Pettine refused to comment on the Hoyer-to-Houston story, which obviously makes sense. He still hasn’t seen enough from either of his quarterbacks to declare a starter, so it’d be surprising if he just parted ways with one of them. For this reason, I would take these latest league whispers with a grain of salt.