The Brian Hoyer-era is not over yet for the New England Patriots.
The Patriots suddenly have an extra quarterback on their roster after signing Hoyer to a one-year deal Monday night.
So, is another move coming at the position with the veteran QB back in the fold? Not necessarily.
Hoyer joins presumptive starter Cam Newton, 2021 first-round pick Mac Jones and potential backup Jarrett Stidham on the Patriots’ quarterback depth chart as New England continues to fill out its roster with cheap veteran players.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick declared Newton as “our quarterback” on the same night New England drafted Jones. So, Newton isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Jones, who is the future at the position for the Patriots. But Stidham could be on thin ice with organized team activities practices starting up next week.
That’s not to say Stidham will be cut before the Patriots put on helmets. But he suddenly faces competition in the event Jones can’t back up Newton to start the season and New England needs a backup quarterback.
Stidham and Hoyer have traded blows in the backup quarterback battle since the former was drafted in 2019. Stidham won the No. 2 role as a rookie, and Hoyer was cut out of training camp. The Patriots did reportedly have plans to re-sign Hoyer before he was scooped up by the Indianapolis Colts. Then Hoyer beat out Stidham for the backup job behind Newton last summer only to be knocked down the depth chart after a disastrous outing in a start against the Kansas City Chiefs. Stidham spent the rest of the season as the No. 2 while Hoyer was relegated to street-clothes duties on the sideline.
Now the NFL’s most boring quarterback battle — Stidham vs. Hoyer III — rages on in the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium again this spring and summer.
There’s certainly some value in keeping Hoyer over Stidham. Hoyer, 35 and past the point of being in competition for a starting role, can mentor Jones better than Stidham, 24, who should be looking out for himself and his future in the NFL. Stidham did eventually pass Hoyer on the quarterback depth chart, but the events over the past two seasons suggests New England views the competition between the two quarterbacks as close.
If Jones can win the backup job behind Newton, then there could be some value in keeping around Hoyer. There really wouldn’t be in retaining Stidham at that point.
The Patriots signed one undrafted free agent. The Patriots’ roster competition is already fierce. It’s entirely possible they simply aren’t valuing the final spots on their roster like they would in years’ past because of a shallow draft pool. So, they’ll make sure they can grab Hoyer before another team pounces and let things play out at quarterback this summer.
There won’t be many quarterback reps to go around, and the Patriots already know what Hoyer can do. Whether he sticks around will largely depend on how Jones and Stidham look this spring and summer.