Hoyer wise.

140130-brian-hoyer-top

My earlier posts on Brian Hoyer here, here, and here.

Before we go all in with a QB at #4…
More Hoyer, more YAC: the Bengals game tape.
Sign Hoyer now.

I link to them here because we shouldn’t have any confusion that Brian Hoyer’s play or the Browns winning record were unforeseeable events.  Here is just some guy in New Hampshire on Hoyer last April:

My point is this:  the risk of letting your starting quarterback play for you without a contract when your team is likely probably surely in an ascendency is OFF THE CHARTS.

This is way way way way too easy.  Don’t be cute.  Get Hoyer under contract.  Now.  Before the mini-camps.  Before the training camps.  Before pre-season. NOW.

But that ship sailed with the Browns non-signing of Hoyer.  Then the Browns doubled-down in their disdain of their incumbent QB by letting the hillbilly QB coach chat up the hillbilly owner in the draft room and took the shortest QB in the NFL in the first round.

Flash forward to today and the Browns are 3-2 and Hoyer is the 7th rated QB.

So this is playing out pretty much exactly as was foreseen.  Let’s catch up on the latest.


Big news on the Hoyer contract saga.  Not only will Brian Hoyer command a huge payday at the end of a successful season, he also appears unwilling to deal with relentless Johnny Football intrigue ever again.

Who could blame him?  All things being equal why wouldn’t Brian Hoyer want to avoid the Johnny Manziel circus?

Here’s what is known.

1.  Jason Cole report.

The story was broken by Jason Cole on Bleacher Report.  If you can get past the stunningly archetypal HOT TAKE reciter1 on the intro, Jason Cole’s report is here.

Cole leads off saying that this is a precarious situation and I think that’s right.  However the reason it’s precarious is not simply due to Hoyer playing well.  We’ll circle back to how the situation got to ‘precarious’ below.

He goes on to say that with Hoyer a UFA in 2015, “… he’s going to want to go to a place that a., pays him and b., makes it clear that he is the guy.  And as long as Manziel is there, there’s always going to be concern from Hoyer’s side:  is the team going to go with Manziel?”

Sounds right to me so far.

Cole also says the Browns may be forced to franchise Hoyer and then get rid of Manziel.  “If Hoyer’s going to stay, Manziel has to go.”  Even if the Browns want to sign Hoyer long term, according to all the people Cole has talked to who are involved in this:  Hoyer won’t sign if Manziel is there.

Tony Grossi went out of his way to avoid linking to the report and at the same belittle the source with his piece yesterday:  “… a Bleacher Report video blog was posted with the headline: “Brian Hoyer Won’t Agree to Long-Term Deal with Johnny Manziel on Roster.”  Let me help you out Tony.  Here’s Jason Cole’s bio:  [Cole] has won numerous awards for his reporting, including two first-place and one second-place award from the Pro Football Writers of America in 2013.  He is a graduate of Stanford University.

It may not be the Scripps School but it’s quite a bit more than a random ‘video blog.’  It’s a report by a credible reporter who is reporting information gathered from sources he’s willing to trust.

But if you don’t trust Cole, here’s someone you should trust.

2.  Lane Adkins take.

Lane Adkins is the local reporter with either the most access to the most sources or just the one who is willing to report what he hears and trusts.  I find Lane tops.  This is what he had to say in yesterday’s Ask The Insiders (paid) forum:

Posted: Yesterday 11:14 AM  Manziel/Hoyer reports.

What are you hearing about QB situation?  Lots of talk about Hoyer wanting Manziel out and possible extension for Hoyer.  I don’t believe anything till I read it here.  Does Manziel even have any value.


Posted: Yesterday 1:37 PM  Re: Manziel/Hoyer reports.

I have not heard anything close to that on Hoyer and Manziel. I will say that the little group things they had going on – Hoyer/Shanahan/Manziel is less evident now.As for an extension, those talks were very early and haven’t rekindled fully — time will tell but I’d be surprised if they don’t restart.

As for Manziel, I do not believe the Browns would get comparable value from what his draft position was and haven’t heard them having any desire to trade him.

Hoyer wants to play and I am certain he doesn’t feel completely comfortable with Manziel sitting there being a first round pick and knowing how it came to be that he arrived in Cleveland.

The underlined section is important and Lane chooses his words with care.  This is a validation of Cole’s central theme.

Brian Hoyer himself.

Hoyer was asked about this report yesterday and he did nothing to diffuse the gist.  Go to 1:42 for his talk on the contract status.

MKC excerpted Hoyer’s responses:

[Hoyer’s] first answer was: “I don’t know who got that report. That’s something that I have an agent to handle and right now I’m focused on Jacksonville.”

When asked a second time, he said, “I don’t think I need to say any more than I’m from Cleveland and this is where I want to be. But I also am a competitor, so I want to be somewhere where I’m playing.”

Pressed a third time if he’d sign a long-term deal if Manziel were still here, Hoyer — fresh off a 31-10 rout of the Steelers — said, “I’m not going to answer that question.”

It would be pretty simple for Hoyer to say that the report was incorrect, no?  The view from here is that the report was on mark and Hoyer was peeved that it’s out there.  But he’s not going to lie either.

Precarious.

NFL: Super Bowl XLVII-Baltimore Ravens Press Conference

Browns hoping NOT to win Super Bowl else lose negotiating leverage??

As Cole noted, the situation is indeed precarious.  That it is so, is due to yet another stunningly ill-conceived game of chicken with a key player and his agent.  … and all this within weeks of the failed chicken gambit with Alex Mack. …and worse, you’re playing it with QB WHOSE AGENT PLAYED THIS GAME A YEAR AGO WITH JOE FLACCO.

Christ.  Dumb, dumb dumb.

But here we are with our best defensive player (Sheard), all-pro tight end (Cameron), starting CB (Skrine), and now our starting QB all hitting the market at the end of this year.2

But putting aside the poor risk management practices in Berea, let’s put on our Brian Hoyer cap:

If you’re Brian Hoyer you would be foolish to do anything differently that adopt this hard nosed stance.

Let’s review:

1.  Two wins in 2013 with great QB play for a rookie coach.  The two Hoyer games from last year are broken down in the links above.  They weren’t flukes.  Seriously, I can’t make it any easier.. the film is condensed and you can see Hoyer’s work last year in two ten minute videos.

NFL: 2014 NFL Draft

Oh yah, Hoyer loved this.

2.  Commitment.  Reports indicate that Hoyer was in Berea every day in the off-season, training to get back in shape.  I believe Hoyer was the first person Coach Pett met in his first day at Berea.

In spite of this the Browns draft Johnny Manziel in the first round, absolutely lighting a bonfire on top of all the work your starting QB was quietly doing in the background to prepare for the season.  Exactly the work and commitment and leadership that you want from a starting QB — all Berea shat all over it and then..

3.  Winning the asinine ‘QB competition.’  Hoyer won but wasn’t impressive.  How impressive would you be at your job if there were 20 reporters waiting breathlessly for your competitor to take your job away?  Not very, I assure you.  But then imagine how you’d be affected your direct superior was blowing the new guy.

Google Dowell Loggains and look what comes back.

Google Dowell Loggains and look what comes back.

4.  Dowell Loggains, Idiot QB Coach.  Here’s a three page piece on Dowell Loggains in September.  SEPTEMBER!  AFTER THREE GAMES!  It contains this much content on the current starting QB:

On Hoyer:
“Brian’s done a great job managing the huddle, making some big throws in critical situations, and I think his play can improve as he gets more comfortable in the offense.
“It’s happened a little faster than I thought it would.”

There’s 800+ words in this report.  42 are on Hoyer.  Hoyer is the starting QB.  Has been the starting QB for three games.  You can say that it’s on the reporter (Steve Doerschuk) for asking Manziel questions.  But it’s also on the QB Coach to redirect the questions toward his current primary charge:  Brian Hoyer.

And that might have been the straw that broke the camel’s back.  A report like this, after Hoyer’s busting ass, playing well, beat the Saints, just missed beating the Ravens… and the idiot QB coach still wants to talk Johnny.

Great job managing the huddle?  Wow thanks Dowell.  You’ll be managing huddles in the Sun Belt next year if Hoyer signs.

“Christ, what happens when I throw my first interception?”  He has to be thinking.  “I’m balling out here and the talk is still Manziel.  What happens if I have a bad game?  Because it’s going to happen.  The jackals will be screaming for Manziel.”

No.

Hoyer is 100% right to avoid the Manziel circus.  If he sticks around, it’ll be his NFL death.

If Hoyer continues on his current pace, oh wait, here’s his current pace:  seventh in PFF QB rating…

Screen Shot 2014-10-14 at 1.54.39 PM

And Hoyer’s one int was effectively a punt. (Click to go to page.)

If Hoyer continues on his current pace, he will get paid and will have multiple places to get paid.  Look at the list above.  Can you name the backups of the other ten QBs on that list?  I can’t either.

Actual photo from article on Browns QBs in late September.

Actual photo from article on Browns QBs in late September.

Hoyer won’t have to put up with the Manziel sideshow with all the sideline shots of Johnny waiting to come in and with all the Manziel jersey sales data and with all the horseshit that no other good QBs deal with.

He’d be a damn fool not to take charge of his career and get in a spot where he’s not viewed as a seat warmer for the a backup QB with a Q Score on par with Peyton Manning.

It’s not personal.  Or it might be, but who wouldn’t be torqued after what he’s been through.  But regardless of whether it’s personal and payback… it’s also simply smart.

Put it this way, if Manziel were backing up Roethlisberger all the talk in Pittsburgh now would be ‘should Johnny start next week?’

Any QB who can choose, would choose to avoid such a recipe for drama.  Hoyer is on his way to being able to choose.  Don’t blame him for choosing wisely.


  1. Count the number of conventional hot takes this guy mentions.  Thanks, I guess.  You’re the reason I have a blog. [back]
  2. Next time Joe Banner takes a bow for Desmond Bryant and Barkevious Mingo, picture life without Jabaal Sheard.  Because that was Joe Banner’s vision. [back]

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  • While I agree that it would have been nice to see the Browns sign Hoyer in the off-season, they simply didn’t know his true market value or how he would play because of his injury. Also, as you point out, he shares an agent with Flacco who bet on himself and won big. Have a feeling even if the Browns had offered a deal Hoyer would have turned it down because he was willing to bet on himself as well.

    This may be a rose-colored view because of the way the team has been playing, but I’m betting if the offers are the same Hoyer is staying in Cleveland no matter if Manziel is here or not. This is home, he’s obviously comfortable with the team and coaching staff, and after bouncing around from so many teams the thought of starting over again somewhere else can’t be attractive to Hoyer.

  • CleveLandThatILove

    Shanahan and Hoyer have a really nice trust/respect thing going on between them. They make each other (and the whole offense) look good in a deliberate and controlled way. Too boring for some people? We kept hearing how Manziel and Shanahan would play perfectly into each other’s strengths, but Hoyer allows Kyle to really spread his wings. It’s awesome and it works – round 2 with the Steelers and LeBeau had no clue. The D and ST feed off of it. Football is so much better like this. At first it seemed like Hoyer was the odd man out, but now it’s Johnny that doesn’t seem to fit. Bad timing to pick him in the draft, but who knew? Hope it works out for everybody.

    • i wanted to do a full post on this subject: lebeau had a terrific clue and that’s why we had those first two 3/outs. that shanahan adjusted in game – against dick lebeau – and beat lebeau was amazing.

      the other thought on shanahan is that i hope pettine is grooming a replacement OC because shanny will be a head coach somewhere next year.

      • CleveLandThatILove

        That would be huge loss. Maybe they can convince Shans to stay a while, not sure how that works with contracts and salaries. He’s so young.

        • actovegin1armstrong

          You know I love you CLTIL, but to quote the great Oogie Boogie,
          You’re jokin’
          You’re jokin’
          I can’t believe my eyes
          You’re jokin me, you gotta be
          This can’t be the right guy

      • actovegin1armstrong

        “shanny will be a head coach somewhere next year”
        Most likely a High School head coach. I certainly hope that some color blind team owner and GM are unable to see all of the readily apparent red flags and they steal “shanny” away before The Great Shanahan Rebellion. Shall we slow the roll a little here kids? Three games does not a career make. I am a big fan of Hoyer, he is making the best of a nearly impossible situation. Without the very cerebral Alex Mack and Brian Hoyer this offense would be grinding to a halt. Half of that tandem is now gone. The Browns should win the next three games against the worst teams in the league, but even with a 6-2 record, I will be expecting a Texans in 2013 like tumble.

        • technivore

          What are the red flags that you see?

          • actovegin1armstrong

            I hope young Mr Shanahan has learned from his tenure in Houston and Washington and I also hope that I am once again completely clueless, but….
            1.) From MKC
            “CLEVELAND, Ohio — Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer, who orchestrated a game winning field goal drive against the Saints Sunday, admitted he was miffed when offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan informed him midweek that he was going to sprinkle in some Johnny Manziel.”

            2.) The Redskins rapid rise, then even quicker decline. When the going gets tough, Kyle gets cranky.
            3.) The Browns’ numbers on offense are inflated because they have had to play fast and lose while coming from behind. How did the Browns game plan look in the beginning of the game against Pittsburg? If Shanahan is such a genius, his offense should come out like gangbusters forcing the other team to adjust to his superior game plan. The same thing happened with the Texans and Redskins.
            4.) Worst of all, Kyle Shanahan was “all in” on giving away the farm to draft RGINJURY. Kyle set up camp in Waco, he was convinced that RGINJURY could dominate the NFL. However, RGINJURY cost him his job.

  • zarathustra
  • Tron

    Yea you nailed it earlier. I think we have to stick with Hoyer because you can’t turn your back on a winning formula.

    That being said nobody knows what we have in Manziel. He played bad in the pre-season but so did our offense which looked historically bad and is now one of the best in the NFL. So we don’t know what we have in this kid. He’s undersized, jittery, brings a circus and was absolutely dynamite in the Southeastern Conference.

    I think I said this before on this site after we drafted Manziel that we were creating a QB controversy because if Hoyer stayed healthy this year he would be successful. From what I saw last year his play this season is not surprising at all. This is where the hardest thing in sports comes into play; evaluating a quarterback.

    I don’t think we can really say what we have in Johnny until we see him play. But if we’re winning you can’t stop with what works. Which is why have a problem.

    Someone made the comparison of Harbaugh’s dealing with the Kaepernick/Smith pairing as an example of how to transition QB’s in a winning culture. Their evaluation of Kaepernick was spot on. Can we do the same with Johnny?

  • bupalos

    One alternate take is that if Hoyer really does play top10 ball the rest of the way, he’s going to grow to actually like having Johnny Hollywood under his thumb and slapping the douchery out of him. No one *actually* likes Manziel. People just want a potential savior. If that role is filled with a Sipe/Bernie clone, the Manziel mania will be weaker here than anywhere.

    In any event my take is that continued winning actually will cure everything.

  • nj0
    • Guest

      But what about this??!!!

  • zarathustra

    A-fucking-men. All of it. The Browns had a really nice offseason, but their handling of this is inexcusable.
    P.S. only because your second footnote brings him up. Didn’t joe banner sign hoyer? A year or so from now might we look back on it as the single best browns move in the 15 years since they’ve been back? And it was hardly a fluke. Lombardi was on the Simmons podcast a year prior stating acquiring hoyer would be a top priority if he was ever a gm again.
    I mean it is a bit ironic that in such a truly brilliant post the only mention of the man that signed him is to throw shit at him, no?

    • bupalos

      Signed him to 2 years. Of course, they would have extended if he hadn’t gotten hurt.

      • zarathustra

        Right. Banner (Lombardi really) was more committed to Hoyer than the new front office. Maybe if they had stuck around we wouldn’t be in this situation. I am perfectly open to the argument that is not reason enough to lament their firing, but it should be considered. Either way i’m all for Farmer and don’t blame him for any of this. I think the line above about the collusion of hillbilly owner and qb coach was spot on. Depressing as hell, but spot on.

    • mixed bag on banner as on all GMs. difference you dont have tom heckert online crowing about josh gordon and ignoring colt mccoy or mangini chirping about alex mack and getting amnesia david veikune.

      and not for nothing, he signed hoyer to be third string; it’s not like there was any qb competition weeden had to go through.

      • zarathustra

        Mixed bag????? Progress!!!!!!

      • zarathustra

        Also, fwiw maybe if his Twitter interlocutors acknowledged the mixed bag and didn’t treat him like the arch-villain from a silent movie he wouldn’t be so damned defensive.
        Either way, I don’t want this to distract what a great post this is–sans footnote.

  • wish i would’ve thought to entitle this ‘Hoyer paranoia.’ dammit.

  • bupalos

    While I wasn’t on the ‘Hoyer is The Answer’ train nearly as fast as you, I was maybe even more emphatic that they were essentially wasting an asset in signing over the lottery ticket that is an open QB slot to an unsigned guy. It’s not the failure to identify Hoyer as having a decent shot– I’m still not ready to say there isn’t a whole lot of system going on here, even with the obviously fantastic play within that system, and honestly some of these less than ideal throws really might be a lot more of a problem if we face elite d-backfields.

    But it’s the total mix here that makes no combined sense, and I think that’s just an outgrowth of the instability. Banner is the guy that would have been thinking this way, and while we wisely cut him and his court intrigue loose and went pure football, not having someone deploying cap and QB strategery in place right then ended up creating what I do now see as something of a money problem.

    The good news is the Browns still do control Hoyer because I really don’t think anyone is matching the transition tag here on a guy successfully running a Shanny system,with the best O-line in football and a low utilization rate. If we want to pay him at 15 we can have him, and I have a REAL hard time believing he’s more concerned about who’s behind him than how much guaranteed dollars he’s going to get. And if he continued running top 10, obviously then we can just let the Swanrider go back to his natural habitat hanging with Bieber.

    So it was played fairly badly, but I really don’t think it’s going to hurt that much in the end. They threw away a few bucks and probably can’t get back a 1st for Manziel. But if Hoyer is the real deal here, we can still have him and will still have him.

  • Alex

    Great points as usual. But I’m not seeing why Hoyer and JF can’t be on the same team next year. As long as Hoyer continues to perform and we’re willing to pay market value I don’t think JF being on the roster or not would be a deal breaker for Hoyers camp. Yes, I get there’s a circus with him, but that circus has been completely non existent while Hoyer has been playing well. As long as he contiunes to play well its a non issue. Yes he will have some bad games like anyone, but he’s built up good grace now so I don’t think it’s going to be an immediate cry for JF when that bad game comes.

    I want us to commit to Hoyer and love him as our qb, but I also think it’d be short-sighted to just get rid of JF unless we got an offer we couldn’t refuse. Injuries happen, the rest of the nfl could catch up to Hoyer as more game tape comes out, and its hard for me to determine how much of Hoyers success is tied to Shannys system. He could leave for a HC opportunity.

    Bottom line- we need to sign Hoyer but I understand why they didn’t do it earlier, and I think Hoyers agent flat out said they’d rather play the season first. JF being in the roster or not should not be a deal breaker either.

    • jpftribe

      Linta is on record as saying Hoyer’s value would not be determined until at least November. Personally, i think this is coming from him to cash in now.

  • jpftribe

    1. You definitely called this, kudos.
    2. I was not a supporter of the JFF pick and still not convinced.
    But…
    Hoyer was coming off an acl and only played in four games. Lots of teams cut him as well so he has limitations. His preseason was horrible.

    We also don’t know if he was offered an extension and refused.

    If he continues on pace, Browns have the franchise tag and plenty of cap. Hoyer really doesn’t have the option of forcing the JFF issue unless Farmer is trading that for pure cash, cap not an issue.

    Farmer and Linta both know the options. Hoyer’s leverage increases every week he wins, which is not really a bad scenario for Farmer.

    Much adieu about nothing here.

    And Cole has admitted he has no real sources, he is speculating.

    • Points 1 and 2 — his body of work from last plus his incumbent status plus the pending UFA mandated a starter level contract offer. I doubt he would’ve turned down an offer that slotted him with ~#20 starting QB money… but true we don’t know.

      3. That’s what Ozzie Newsome thought and next thing you know he’s trading Anquan Boldin for sixth round draft pick.

      4. I should thing Farmer knows he’s painted into a corner now. While winning is a good scenario, signing a winning UFA QB is sub optimal.

      5. Had not seen that on Cole; also saw Hoyer’s agent deny the report. But Hoyer didn’t put it to bed and Adkins confirmed that he wasn’t cool with how it went down nor with having a celebrity behind him. I think there’s fire under this smoke.

      • jpftribe

        Point in time perspective is in order here.

        Farmer going into training camp: 2 yr deal, option for 3rd. Say 6-8M signing bonus with heavy incentives to add 3M year 1, 6M year 2 and big balloon year three 12-15M. Browns committed to 8M over two years, with incentive could go to 17M. Big option in year 3 with no guaranteed money.

        Linta going into training camp – Has to concede incentive laden contract, with bigger signing bonus prorated over three year with some guaranteed money in first two years. Say 15M signing bonus, 2M guaranteed plus 2M incentives year 1, 2M guaranteed 4M incentives year two, maybe all incentives year three, 7-8 M. That’s 19M over three years guaranteed, cheap for a starter.

        I could see both sides taking this position reasonably, and being miles apart. Big risks on both sides.

        Now let’s also realize that without two botched special teams plays this team is 5-0. Likewise, with two botched officiating calls they are 1-4. Let’s play out the scenario’s if either side had signed either deal.

        I kind of like the current scenario. Hoyer keeps winning, everyone is OK.

    • jpftribe

      To add on here, the only thing I really question Farmer on is the drafting of JFF in round 1. Conner Shaw is basically JFF without the hype. They could have traded up for Brandin Cooks with the same currency as they did for JFF.

      At some point, no matter how smart they think they are UDFA’s are not going to win Super Bowls. Your first round picks have to be big time players. That is what will come back to haunt this team.

      • the whole scene just smells like a knee jerk giddy owner filling the vacuum created when brandin cooks (reportedly who the browns were targeting) came off the board.

      • actovegin1armstrong

        Shaw is a lot better than JFF.
        “no matter how smart they think they are UDFA’s are not going to win Super Bowls.”

        Why not? I fail to see the logic here, the draft in the past went far past 7 rounds. There have been Stuporbowls won by guys who were late round, post 7th round and UDFA’s.
        Montana was a 4th round pick, Brady was a 6th round pick. Staubach was an 11th round pick. Kurt Warner was an UDFA. Bart Starr was taken in the 17th round.
        That is just the SB QB’s, also among the un-drafted, Priest Holmes, Arian Foster, Warren Moon, Tony Romo, Antonio Gates, Night Train Lane.

    • bupalos

      I hope there’s no adieu here!

    • technivore

      Jim Donovan on 92.3 the other morning did say that Hoyer was offered an extension this past summer, something like $2.5MM/yr with 2 years guaranteed, and turned it down.

  • Woods

    I have been using your posts to educate other Browns fans on Facebook.

    Thank you for doing such good work.

  • FTCMikeD

    Welp, now I’m nervous. I figured that Hoyer would play well this season and re-sign because he grew up a fan and the Browns would #PayDaMan and let JF sit and learn a la Aaron Rodgers. Now, he could leave as a UFA just to avoid the constant JF mania. I hope that Ray Farmer has a good plan to get through this mess.

    • bupalos

      Whether there is ANYTHING to Cole’s report is a question, but whether the idea that Hoyer would cross Cleveland off the list if JFF is here is not a question. That is simply 100% bull. Maybe you have to pay Hoyer more, maybe you have to guarantee Hoyer more. But if you still like Manziel you just go ahead and do that and call it the cost of business. Hoyer isn’t going to demand 10 million extra dollars for the right to play mediocre football and not be replaced quite as fast. The Browns have already proven that they are going to make football decisions with Manziel, not marketing decisions. That should be enough for Hoyer to simply be willing to bet on himself. Again.