Hoyer a most marketable backup

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has expressed a desire to continue his career for a long, long time, despite the fact that he will soon turn 35 – aging by NFL standards.

That’s good news for everyone who supports the Patriots, perhaps except one person: his backup, Brian Hoyer.

Undrafted in 2009, Hoyer has quietly developed into an effective reserve quarterback who the Patriots clearly value, seeing as though the team tendered him at the second-round level this offseason as a restricted free agent. The tender restricted the 26-year old from fully testing the waters of the starting quarterback market.

In 2013, Hoyer should have no such restrictions to seek starting employment, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the '12 season. It’s possible that he’ll rank near the top of the quarterback market, and he could be in line for a fancy payday.

While much remains to be seen, ESPN’s Chris Sprow put together his list of “most marketable” backup quarterbacks for 2012, which Hoyer tops (Insider content).

The list is not simply a calculation of the most talented backups, but also takes into account which backups are likely to be available either via free agency or trade in the near future.

Former NFL executive and current NFL Network analyst Mike Lombardi has said on numerous occasions that if he had been hired by the 49ers during their most recent general manager search, he would have pursued Hoyer.

Ryan Mallett, who was the third quarterback for the Patriots in 2011 (and is expected to assume that role again this season), was mentioned in the article as well, but in the category of players who aren’t yet marketable enough. Sprow believes Mallett “has the talent profile of a future starter.”