Brian Hoyer is, as many expected, returning to the New England Patriots.
Hoyer has signed with the Patriots a day after being released by the Indianapolis Colts. It will be his third stint with New England.
BREAKING: The #Patriots have reached agreements with QB Brian Hoyer and former Jets LB Brandon Copeland today. This will be Hoyer's third tour of duty with in New England.
— Jim McBride (@globejimmcbride) March 22, 2020
According to NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport, Hoyer is getting a one-year deal.
Bringing back Hoyer makes perfect sense for the Patriots. He’s deeply familiar with the system, having spent parts of five seasons as Tom Brady’s backup. Now that Brady is gone, he could theoretically back up second-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, or potentially even challenge for the starting role.
Stidham actually beat Hoyer out for the backup role in 2019. Now they may be fighting for the Patriots’ starting job.
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Tom Brady and Bill Belichick had their fair share of issues over the years, but they managed to downplay almost all of them and continue winning championships no matter how hard the media tried to drive a wedge between them. When it came to Brady’s contract negotiations, however, it is clear the two have not been on the same page in a very long time.
ESPN’s Seth Wickersham published a lengthy piece about the divorce between Brady and the Patriots, and in it he discussed how the tension between coach and quarterback hit a boiling point in 2017. It was around that time that Brady began heavily promoting his TB12 brand, and that and the growing presence of Brady’s personal trainer Alex Guerrero was clearly a source of frustration for Belichick. However, Wickersham says Brady’s contract situation was always the biggest issue between Brady and Belichick.
Brady signed a series of short-term deals in his final years with the Patriots. When he was 39 in the fall of 2017, he made it clear he intended to play into his mid-40s and wanted an extension from the team that would allow him to finish his career in New England. Belichick refused to give him one, and Wickersham reports that Belichick and Brady had a “blowup” during a meeting to discuss the quarterback’s contract in late 2017.
Brady then met with Patriots owner Robert Kraft and is said to have received “mixed signals.” Not long after Brady’s meetings with Belichick and Kraft, team president Jonathan Kraft told the media Brady has “earned the right” to decide when he wants to leave New England. The implication seemed to be that Brady would leave when Brady was ready, but that’s not what happened.
Prior to the 2018 season, the Patriots added $5 million in incentives to Brady’s contract. He never reached the incentives and probably never wanted them. What he really wanted was a multi-year extension. When Belichick refused to give him one again last offseason, Brady had the Patriots give him assurances they would not franchise tag him. He also almost walked out of training camp because he was so disgusted with the situation.
Given everything we know, the report we heard about what the Patriots were willing to pay Brady for 2020 and beyond does not sound accurate. In the end, Belichick handled Brady the same way he would handle any other aging player with declining skills. Brady felt he earned the right to be treated differently, and you can certainly understand why. Belichick has never given any player preferential treatment in contract negotiations, and the way he the Brady situation unfolded proves The Hoodie never will.
The Patriots have been expressing their gratitude toward Tom Brady in a number of different ways throughout the New England area, but they want the people of Tampa to know how much the six-time Super Bowl champion means to them as well.
On Sunday, the Patriots took out a full-page ad in the Tampa Bay Times to honor Brady. The ad referred to Brady as the GOAT and urged the quarterback’s new fans to “take care of him.”
“To the Buccaneers fans and Tampa Bay community — take care of him. You got a great one.”
— Mark Katches (@markkatches) March 22, 2020
Players and teams taking out full-page ads in their local newspaper is something we have seen countless times throughout the years, but that was a unique idea for Robert Kraft and the Patriots to also run one in a Tampa Bay paper.
The Patriots seem to be doing everything they can do convince their fans Brady wanted the divorce and not the other way around. Running classy newspaper ads is another way to gain fan favor, though that does not mean the gestures are disingenuous.
It appears entirely plausible that the New England Patriots could stand pat and not bring in a veteran starter to replace Tom Brady.
The Patriots have been linked to Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, who is available via trade. However, according to Jeff Howe of The Athletic, the team has not discussed Dalton as a potential option at this point.
Something would have to change for the Pats to turn their attention to Andy Dalton. He hasn’t been discussed among the Pats’ immediate plans. https://t.co/FWZ3sAZemf
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) March 21, 2020
Dalton is not currently a target, and neither is Jameis Winston. That essentially means the team is prepared to stick with Jarrett Stidham at quarterback. That could certainly change, but right now, the Patriots don’t seem eager to rush out and get a veteran quarterback.
Now that teams more or less have their starting quarterbacks settled, a handful of guys are left looking for new homes and struggling to find them.
One of them is Jameis Winston, who won’t be back with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after they signed Tom Brady. Winston doesn’t really have any prospects as a starter right now.
The one team that is still being linked to potential starters is the New England Patriots. According to Michael Giardi of NFL Media, however, any pursuit of Winston by the Patriots is unlikely.
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 20, 2020
The Patriots value ball protection, and Winston’s 30 interceptions would not fly with them. He’s not a safe enough option. That means Winston is looking at a backup job, but it’s not even clear where that will end up being.
The New England Patriots were reportedly willing to match the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offer to Tom Brady, but apparently the four-time Super Bowl MVP never gave them a chance.
Brady officially signed his contract with the Bucs on Friday, and the deal is reported to be worth $50 million guaranteed over two years. It also includes an additional $9 million in incentives, a no-trade clause and a guarantee that the team won’t franchise tag Brady when the deal expires. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Media, the Patriots would have matched the contract. Brady never gave them a chance.
The #Patriots likely would have done this contract, though Tom Brady never came to them with his desire to return. So there was no offer from NE. In the end, only the #Bucs and the #Chargers made offers. The #Raiders sat it out, as well, never offering Brady a deal. https://t.co/Pep1omas6O
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) March 20, 2020
What exactly does that mean? It’s hard to say. On the surface, it looks like Brady never gave the Patriots a chance to match the offer because he had no interest in returning. However, keep in mind there was a report earlier in the week that the Pats did not make a tangible effort to bring Brady back.
We may never know if Brady actually wanted to return or if Bill Belichick genuinely wanted him back. Robert Kraft has certainly made it sound like he would have done what he could to keep Brady, and the Patriots owner even seemed to hint that issues between Belichick and Brady preceded the divorce.
When I spoke to Robert Kraft, he made this analogy about Tom Brady's departure: "Think about loving your wife & for whatever reason, there’s something – her father or mother – that makes life impossible for you & you have to move on but you don’t want to." @nflnetwork #Patriots
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) March 20, 2020
Reports early on made it seem like the Patriots were willing to spend big to keep Brady, so perhaps they did not communicate that to Brady early enough. It’s possible Belichick tried to slow-play the negotiations and Brady felt he deserved better and decided he wanted a fresh start. Or, maybe he wanted a fresh start all along. The answer likely lies somewhere in between.
It is only a matter of time before Cam Newton is traded or released by the Carolina Panthers, and it just so happens that the former MVP is looking for a job in the same year Tom Brady left the New England Patriots. Are you thinking what we’re thinking?
Apparently some Las Vegas oddsmakers are.
Odds Shark released odds on Monday for which team Newton will be playing for at the start of the 2020 season, and the Washington Redskins had the best odds at +150. The Patriots were a close second at +200.
Odds for what team Cam Newton will be on for Week 1 of the 2020 season (BetOnline):
— Odds Shark (@OddsShark) March 19, 2020
There are only so many teams without starting quarterbacks heading into next season, but it’s noteworthy that there’s a sense the Patriots are a potential landing spot for Newton. Whether or not he ends up in New England would depend upon a lot of factors, one of which is his health. If Newton’s foot is fully healthy, the big question would then be how much teams are willing to pay to sign him or extend him. The Patriots have very little salary cap space, so it seems unlikely that they would shell out big money for Newton after not giving Brady the contract he was seeking.
If the Patriots want to save money at the QB position, they are probably going to stick with Jarrett Stidham as their starter. Newton has been linked to other teams that may be more interested in him, but a Bill Belichick-Cam Newton pairing would certainly be a great storyline for the sport.