Hoyer, a restricted free agent, received a second-round tender Tuesday from the Patriots. That means he's under the Patriots' control for one more season, and he'll earn a base salary of $1.9 million in 2012 if he remains in New England.
However, Hoyer is free to sign with another team from March 17-April 21. That team can sign Hoyer to a contract of any length and value, and the Patriots would then have the opportunity to retain Hoyer by matching the contract. Otherwise, Hoyer's new team would give the Patriots a second-round pick in the 2012 draft.
The Patriots could have offered Hoyer as high as a first-round tender, which would have carried a salary of about $2.7 million. Since there isn't a great deal of money separating the values of the first- and second-round tenders, the Patriots might have offered the second-round tender to dangle Hoyer to interested teams.
Hoyer should have some value, too, especially now that the quarterback market is shaping up. The Colts will take Andrew Luck with the first overall pick in April, and the Redskins will follow suit with Robert Griffin III at No. 2.
From there, free agents Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn will carry the highest value over the next week, and Hoyer could be an enticing option for the teams that have fallen short of the previous options.
The Broncos, Cardinals, Dolphins and Titans appear to be in the hottest pursuit of Manning, and teams like the Browns and Seahawks could also kick the tires on Hoyer if they come up empty-handed in free agency.
The other alternative could be for those teams to take their chances in the draft. Ryan Tannehill looks like he'll be the third quarterback off the board, but there's a very wide consensus that believes he'll be a project. After Tannehill, it's anyone's guess, which makes an NFL-ready quarterback like Hoyer an attractive commodity, especially at the price of a second-round pick.
There's still a strong likelihood Hoyer remains with the Patriots for one more season before becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2013. But because the Patriots have dangled him to the NFL with a second-round tender, the interest level for Hoyer's services should have increased.