The Browns may never have realized what they had in quarterback Brian Hoyer, and their failure to recognize that they had a reliable signal caller has really cost the team over the past three seasons.
Sure, Hoyer is no gunslinger, and he’s not a quarterback that can pick apart defenses, but he’s effective. He’s certainly better than some of the other quarterbacks the Browns have started under center over the past few years. The team has used a number of high draft picks to address the position, and still hasn’t found its franchise signal caller. It appears likely that they’ll use one of their first-round picks this year to take a quarterback, possibly selecting Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick.
Hoyer is a bit of a journeyman, having played for seven teams during his NFL career. He was with the Browns from 2013-14, and led the team to a 10-6 record during that time. The Browns, however, elected to bench him late in the 2014 season, and chose to roll with Johnny Manziel — who the team had drafted earlier that year — looking for a spark. Manziel started in place of Hoyer for the team’s game against the Bengals on Dec. 14, 2014, which the Browns lost 30-0, and the rest is history (although Hoyer did play against the Panthers the following week, but he did not start, as he entered the game after Manizel suffered a hamstring injury).
Speaking of recent history, it hasn’t been good for the Browns, as they managed to finish the 2017 regular season winless. A tweet from Michael David Smith of Pro Football Talk shows that it’s all spiraled downhill since the team elected to start Manziel in place of Hoyer for that Week 15 (2014) game.
Smith also went back and listed all the quarterbacks the Browns have started since Hoyer’s benching, and their respective records. As you can see, the numbers are not pretty.
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone, which the Browns learned the hard way. As for Hoyer, his Patriots are one win away from him being able to taste a Super Bowl victory, so we’re willing to bet he’s happy to be out of Cleveland.