Brian Hoyer will be a Restricted Free Agent as the Patriots move into the 2012 League Year. The 6'2" 215 pound back up QB has been a constant presence on the Patriots sideline for 3 years. Hoyer was an UFA out of Michigan State. In 2009 NFLDRAFTSCOUT had ranked him as the 9th best QB in the draft. Once again the Patriots found a diamond in the rough similar to Brady and Cassel in the past. The Patriots have three choices:

1) They can sign him to a multiyear contract

2) They can tender him and allow him to negotiate with other teams in exchange for a draft pick

3) They can sign him or tender him and trade him before the Draft.

Hoyer will turn 27 during the 2012 season and has shown the potential to be either a starter or a solid backup in the NFL. Mike Lombardi from the NFL network felt that Hoyer presented a better value for teams then Kevin Kolb last year. Here is an excerpt from Rotoworld:

NFL Network's Michael Lombardi believes Patriots backup Brian Hoyer makes a better trade target for quarterback-needy teams than Eagles backup Kevin Kolb.

That's not to say Lombardi believes Hoyer is a better QB, just that the Eagles believe they can get "a great price" for Kolb. "If teams evaluate New England's Week 17 game against Miami," said Lombardi, "they'd see that Hoyer demonstrates the skills needed to be a starter." In 42 career attempts, Hoyer has posted a 61.9 completion rate, 6.3 yards per attempt, and 77.9 passer rating. His passer rating in preseason games is just north of 95.0.

This season Hoyer went 1-1 for 22 yards to Gronk. While his limited role might cause some team to pass, he has value in many non-starting ways as well. He has been widely praised for his ability to mimic other QBs on the scout team to prepare the Defense for the upcoming week. He has shown the ability to grasp a complex offense. Finally, he has studied under Belichick and Brady.

"I think the more experience you get, the more you can focus on the defense as opposed to trying to think about what the play is so you can react more," Hoyer said. "And I think that's what comes with more experience, but, like I've always said, there's nothing that compares to real game experience. To get out there for the first game and have some success feels good."

If the Patriots sign Hoyer to a multiyear contract it would likely mirror the salaries of some other backups in the NFL. Matt Lienhart signed for 2 years 5.5MM with the Texans. Vince Young signed for 1 year 4MM with the Eagles. Charlie Whitehurst signed for 2 years 8MM with the Seahawks. Hoyer's most recent contract paid him 1.19MM for 3 years. To lock him up for the next 2-3 years the Pats would most likely need to pay him an average of 3MM per year. This fits within the current Patriots salary cap without issue. Ryan Mallett signed a 4 year 2.948MM contract in 2011. The big question comes down to who do the Patriots see as the better long term backup.

If the Patriots tender Hoyer it would be with a First Round Tender (at 2.611MM and retain first refusal) or a Second Round Tender (at 1.835MM and also retain first refusal).

The Patriots are expected to tender restricted free agent QB Brian Hoyer "at least" at the second-round level in March. The Pats are stacked at the position with 2011 third-rounder Ryan Mallett also developing, but Bill Belichick won't risk losing an asset with a low tender. That won't prevent the Patriots from listening to trade offers, however. Hoyer will draw more league-wide interest in 2013 when he reaches unrestricted free agency. Feb 8 - 11:17 AM Source: ESPN Boston

The most similar situation to Hoyer is Charlie Whitehurst. He was tendered at a Third Round pick last year and then traded to Seattle for a swap of Second Round positions (40th and 60th pick) and a 2011 Third Round pick. This year there is no Third Round Tender. I might be alone in my thought process, but I think a team like Denver (Quinn is on the way out), Green Bay (Flynn is all but gone), or even San Diego (Volek will be 36 in April) might have interest in a quality backup with no baggage. He represents good value at this point because he's not an Unrestricted Free Agent and the Tender value will impact his ability to negotiate.

The Patriots could mimic the Chargers and trade him for the best offer after he signs the Tender as well. I'd be looking for a Second Round pick or maybe a Third and conditional Second in 2013. This would be a good deal for both sides and put Hoyer in a better position for a future starting role as well. I believe Mallett is the better and cheaper backup option for the Pats for the next three years. I'd also be excited if the Patriots maneuvered in the draft to pick up Case Keenum in the Sixth or Seventh Round.

This is my first post and I'd be interested in your thoughts.

The views expressed in these FanPosts are not necessarily those of the writers or SBNation.

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