FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 24: Tom Brady #12 and Brian Hoyer #8 of the New England Patriots run onto the field for drills before a game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on December 24, 2011 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
The Patriots have taken care of some expected business prior to the start of free agency. According to multiple reports (Adam Kaplan, Mike Reiss), the Patriots have placed the 2nd round restricted free agency tender on quarterback Brian Hoyer.
The move hardly comes as a surprise, as Hoyer is a valued back-up and insurance policy to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. The 2nd round tender is a bit intriguing. It is widely regarded in NFL circles that Hoyer could very well be a future starter in the league. Perhaps it is possible that some quarterback needy team could decide to jump the gun by a year and sign Hoyer to an offer sheet while surrendering a second round pick to the Patriots. While the Patriots certainly do value Hoyer, in that scenario, I'm sure they would be happy to collect their second round pick and move on, with last year's 3rd round pick Ryan Mallett ready and waiting to be the #2.
Still, the aforementioned scenario is rather unlikely. If I had to guess, Hoyer will be back in the fold as the #2 quarterback in 2012. Placing the 2nd round tender on him is simply another step towards making that official.