NFL

NFL AM: Hoyer Released From Texans, Now Becomes Leverage

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Hoyer Hits The Market

Quarterback Brian Hoyer’s tenure with the Houston Texans was short, but certainly eventful.  He won the starting job, was benched twice for a player in Ryan Mallet who couldn’t show up to a team flight on time, led the Texans to the AFC South title, then promptly put together one of the worst playoff performances in the history of the NFL.

When Houston inked former Denver Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler to a four-year, $72 million deal, the writing was tattooed on the wall that Hoyer’s tenure with the team was coming to an end.

When the Texans signed backup quarterback Brandon Weeden, Hoyer’s release became a foregone conclusion.

On Sunday, news broke that Hoyer was indeed no longer a member of the team.

Hoyer is the type of quarterback that could have probably started for a decade 20 years ago, but will be a constant victim of numbers in today’s game.  He’s smart and tough, but limited in his arm talent and will always play second-fiddle to the next younger guy.

To put it simply, Hoyer is probably a No. 25-32 level NFL starter, and everyone knows that isn’t quite good enough to win with….or is it?

Just a couple months ago, we witnessed the Broncos win Super Bowl 50 with Peyton Manning, who threw almost twice as many interceptions as touchdowns in the regular season and had the arm strength of a post-surgery Chad Pennington (if you’re not familiar with his work, click here).

Although it happened once, it doesn’t mean that the NFL is going to trend to a weak-armed quarterback with legendary defense formula.

With that said, Hoyer is usually pretty good, and his 2015 campaign was pretty solid, especially when you consider that he had to constantly look over his shoulder thanks to head coach Bill O’Brien’s constant meddling.  Hoyer completed nearly 61 percent of his throws, for 2,606 yards with 19 touchdowns and just seven interceptions.  That was a lot better than what Manning produced in Denver.

So where is his next stop? 

Conventional wisdom says that the New York Jets might be able to use Hoyer to potentially leverage Ryan Fitzpatrick into a deal.  The two sides are reportedly several million dollars apart on a deal and are at somewhat of an impasse.

Hoyer replaced Fitzpatrick last year in Houston and the Texans won the AFC South.  The Jets are already a good team, and at worst the former Brown and Texan is in the same caliber as Fitz, and he would likely sign at New York general manager Mike Maccagnan’s asking price.

Another possibility for the veteran will be those very Denver Broncos that we referenced earlier.  With Broncos czar John Elway seemingly at a stalemate with the San Francisco 49ers on a potential deal for Colin Kaepernick, Denver is facing the very real possibility of starting Mark Sanchez on opening night when the team squares off in a Super Bowl rematch against the Carolina Panthers.

Hoyer has much more recent starting experience than Sanchez does, and although it’s not a sexy option, he was considerably better than the quarterback that won them the Lombardi Trophy last year.

It’s difficult to say with a straight face that Hoyer is a “hot name,” but with that said he can at the very least leverage guys like Fitzpatrick and 49ers general manager Trent Baalke.

Browner Reunites With Carroll

The original Legion of Boom is back!

Free agent cornerback Brandon Browner has agreed to a one-year deal to reunite with Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks.

After winning a Super Bowl with the Seahawks in 2013, Browner doubled-down and won another one against Seattle in 2014 with the New England Patriots.

The 31-year old Browner, not being the same player as he was earlier in his career, has bounced around and spent 2015 with the New Orleans Saints before being given his walking papers after the season.

What kind of player is Seattle getting now?  

Browner is the prototypical physical cornerback.  He’s great in run support as evidenced by his 76 tackles last year with the Saints.

Unfortunately, his brand of play worked a lot better roughly 13 years ago when the passing rules were a lot more lenient to defensive backs.  Last year, Browner found himself in plenty of mismatches against smaller, quicker receivers and was flagged for 24 penalties (21 accepted), the most by any player since the turn of the century.

Surely, the Seattle pass rush combined with the best pair of safeties in football will help Browner be less “grabby,” but with Richard Sherman on the opposite side of him, if the veteran does indeed win the starting job he will be a marked man.

It’s a low-risk deal for the Seahawks, who already have talented youngsters in Jeremy Lane and Tharold Simon who are expected to play bigger roles for the team in 2016.


About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.