The Indianapolis Colts announced that the team released veteran backup quarterback Brian Hoyer on Saturday:
We have released QB Brian Hoyer— Indianapolis Colts (@Colts) March 21, 2020
It was the second cut of the day for the Colts, who also surprisingly released veteran cornerback Pierre Desir—just before officially announcing the Philip Rivers signing.
However, Hoyer’s release wasn’t nearly as surprising as Desir’s.
With the 38 year old Rivers in the fold, Hoyer’s “veteran voice” may have no longer been needed in the Colts quarterback room.
The former New England Patriots backup quarterback and NFL journeyman was signed just a short time before last season started—in the wake of Andrew Luck’s abrupt retirement, as the Colts scrambled to find a capable veteran backup quarterback to Jacoby Brissett.
Hoyer appeared in 2 games for the Colts last season (1 start) after Brissett suffered a knee injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
He completed 35 of 65 passes (53.8%) for 372 passing yards, 4 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, and a passer rating of 65.7.
In emergency relief in Week 9 against the Steelers on the road, Hoyer actually fared very well, throwing for 3 touchdowns to just 1 interception and keeping the Colts in the game—albeit in a losing effort.
However, just a week later, he followed it up with a dreadful start against the Miami Dolphins at home, throwing for 3 interceptions to just 1 passing touchdown—as the Colts were upset by a (then) NFL bottom feeder.
The move saves the Colts $3 million in cap savings with a $2 million dead cap hit in 2020.
Of course, the Colts backup quarterback situation remains fluid as a whole.
Brissett, who’s guaranteed a $7 million roster bonus on Sunday, could be either cut like Hoyer soon or traded to another team—maybe the New England Patriots as potentially rumored.
There’s also the issue that the Colts may seek to draft and develop a young quarterback in the upcoming NFL Draft as their primary backup to Rivers—and having kept Hoyer or even keeping Brissett for that matter could take away what limited practice reps are available for a rookie. (Not to mention, Brissett as a backup comes with a significant salary cap hit).
3rd-year fan favorite backup quarterback Chad Kelly remains on the Colts active roster as well.
Either way, it appeared that Hoyer’s days as a Colts backup quarterback were short-lived once the 17-year veteran Rivers signed with the Colts—and today, that was official.