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NFL free agency 2023: Patriots’ release of veteran quarterback Brian Hoyer now official

Almost two weeks after the move was first reported, it has now been processed.

NFL: New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Hoyer’s tenure with the New England Patriots is officially over. Almost two weeks after a report claiming the team would release the veteran quarterback, such a move has now been finalized and announced by the team.

Hoyer, 37, was one of three quarterbacks on the Patriots’ roster alongside Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. With Jones locked into the starting gig and Zappe looking solid in his in-game action last season, Hoyer’s days appeared to be numbered heading into the offseason.

The team is now indeed parting ways with him, ending what was his third stint with the organization.

An undrafted rookie free agent out of Michigan State, Hoyer originally arrived in New England in 2009 and spent three seasons as Tom Brady’s backup. Following his release in favor of Ryan Mallett in 2012, Hoyer spent time with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Arizona Cardinals before signing with the Cleveland Browns in 2013.

Hoyer started 16 games for the Browns over a two-year stretch and joined the Houston Texans — then led by current Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien in 2015. One year later, he joined the Chicago Bears followed by a half-season stint with the San Francisco 49ers.

After the 49ers acquired Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo via trade, Hoyer found his way back to New England. He earned a Super Bowl ring during his second tenure with the club, but was let go again in 2019 after losing the backup quarterback spot to then-rookie Jarrett Stidham.

He joined the Indianapolis Colts, before returned to New England once again in 2020. Hoyer had been with the team ever since, starting two games along the way — one against Kansas City in 2020, followed by another last season versus the Green Bay Packers. That second game, however, saw him exit with a concussion in the first quarter.

The injury gave the rookie Zappe an opportunity to prove himself. It also eventually led to Hoyer spending the rest of the season on injured reserve, and indirectly might have contributed to his release.

With Hoyer no longer part of the Patriots’ quarterback mix, the path is now clear for sophomore Zappe to take over as New England’s new QB2. The expectation, however, is that another quarterback will be added to the mix at one point in the offseason.

Releasing Hoyer was not the only move announced by the Patriots on Thursday. The signing of free agent offensive tackle Calvin Anderson was also made official.