What is Quarterback Brian Hoyer Worth?

Back-up quarterback Brian Hoyer is looked at as a potential trade candidate for the New England Patriots, as they look to see a future return on the former undrafted free agent. Hoyer is entering the last season of his contract and it makes sense that the Patriots would like to get some value in return for grooming Hoyer behind Tom Brady.

A logical question follows: How much can the Patriots expect to get in return for trading Hoyer?

Here are the facts-

Brian Hoyer is entering his fourth season in the league. He has appeared in 13 games, mostly to take the kneel downs to drain the clock.

He played well against the Titans in the snow back in '09, going 9/11 for 52 yards and rushing for a touchdown.

Also in '09, he played situational football against the Texans in the season finale, throwing 8/12 for 72 yards.

In '10, he stepped in against Miami in the season finale and went 7/13 for 122 yards and a touchdown.

This past season he threw one pass- to Rob Gronkowski to set the tight end receiving record, again in the season finale.

The Patriots tendered Hoyer at the second round level as a RFA this past free agency and no team offered, which means that the Patriots can most likely forget receiving a top two round pick for Hoyer.

Of course, the Patriots could be waiting to showcase Hoyer during the pre-season games and flip him to a team that needs a quarterback. If Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett appears ready to step in as a back-up, the Patriots could surely sell Hoyer at a premium to a quarterback needy team...right?

Let's check this out after the jump.

The theory seems sound. A team is prepared with their starting quarterback. That player is injured and the team is willing to trade for another starting caliber player to lead the team for the season. Heck, it happened last season with Carson Palmer and the Raiders. Hoyer is one of the top quarterbacks that could be available in case of an injury, so he should be on the short list of premium trade bait.

Then again, referencing the Raiders should immediately let you know that the theory has some holes in it. Here's a list of the 13 quarterbacks traded in August, September, and October since 2006 (the past six seasons):

1st round:

Carson Palmer - +conditional 2nd - Bengals>Raiders

2nd round:

3rd round:

4th round:

Brett Favre - Packers>Jets

5th round:

Tyler Thigpen - Chiefs>Dolphins

Sage Rosenfels - Vikings>Giants

6th round:

Billy Volek - Titans>Chargers

Charlie Frye - Browns>Seahawks

Kelly Holcomb - Eagles>Vikings

7th round:

Ryan Fitzpatrick - Rams>Bengals

Luke McCown - Buccaneers>Jaguars

Josh McCown - Dolphins>Panthers

Else:

Kevin O'Connell - Future 7th round - Lions>Jets

John Beck - Cornerback Doug Dutch [practice squad player who was released later that month] - Redskins>Ravens

Brooks Bollinger - Defensive Tackle C.J. Mosley [bubble/rotational DT] + Future 7th - Jets>Vikings

So what do we see? Of the 13, only Palmer was traded for anything with real value. I feel like the Patriots would balk if someone offered a Favreian 4th round pick for Hoyer. However, no team was willing to offer a 2nd round pick for Hoyer to give him a full off-season with a new team so the Patriots and the fanbase might have to warm up to the idea of a mid-round pick for Hoyer, and not the top pick we were thinking.

And that full off-season is also an issue. The teams trading for these quarterbacks, besides Palmer and Favre, weren't looking for starting quarterbacks. They were looking for back-ups who would only start in an emergency. If a player goes down, they'd rather draw from the current roster and have the next player step up and step in- they don't want to have to sell the farm to bring in Carson Palmer to try and salvage the season. Teams don't give away top draft picks for an expected back-up and that's what Hoyer would be looked at if he was traded over the next couple of months- an insurance play at quarterback.

If the Patriots can't get any offers above a 4th round pick, odds are they'll let Hoyer hit free agency and hope for a compensatory pick as the top outcome. Looking at past transactions, that's seems to be the most likely path.

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