Hoyer's decision was made when Patriots came calling

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Hoyer's decision was made when Patriots came calling

FOXBORO -- It was brief, but Brian Hoyer was a free agent for a period of time last week. The Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco, and the Niners released Hoyer instead of trading him outright to New England. There were other teams that could have used a quarterback -- the Packers, for instance, were reportedly interested -- but Hoyer had his heart set on New England. 

He said it was a "no-brainer" to return to the place where his pro career started.

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"To me, an opportunity to come back and be with this organization, I didn't really want to pass it up," Hoyer said. "And also, when you move around a lot, to move back to somewhere where you've lived before -- especially for my wife and kids and stuff like that -- theres a familiarity there. I think that had part to do with it, too."

Hoyer has played for five teams since the Patriots released him before the start of the 2012 season, but his travel time has been extensive over the course of the last couple of weeks even by his standards. His final game with the Niners was in Philadelphia so, after being in the East, he flew back to San Francisco before finding out he was traded. He arrived in Foxboro on Wednesday, then flew back to the Bay Area during the bye week to get some things in order. Now he's back. 

Five cross-country flights in nine days . . . and all the while he's trying to get caught up on the basics of an offense that he's familiar with but still needs to brush up on. Assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski has been instrumental in helping him get prepared for this week's game with the Broncos, Hoyer explained. 

Having an understanding of how the locker room operates, and what it's like in a meeting run by Bill Belichick, has helped. 

"To go back into that team meeting and listen to Bill, it was almost like a flashback," Hoyer said. "It was like a dream. It's great to be back, and to come back somewhere where you've been."

Hoyer added: "It's kind of cool to see some of the guys that I came in with are now some of the veteran leaders on this team. We're the old guys . . . If it had to happen, to be able to come back into a place where you started out, and you know a lot of people, and you can walk in Day 1 and you have a pretty good grasp of the base offense and see some familiar faces, it was definitely exciting."

As for what's changed, if anything, with Tom Brady, Hoyer smiled and said, "Just looks a little older, I think."

He then credited Brady, Belichick and the Patriots system for helping him carve out a career that's lasted since he signed with the Patriots as an undrafted rookie out of Michigan State in 2009.

"I really don't think I would've lasted this long had I not been in New England to start off with," he said. "From learning from Tom, from learning from Bill . . . I think that allowed me to have the career I've had to this point."

And now it'll continue in the place it began.

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Report: Before trading for Garoppolo, 49ers GM Lynch asked for Brady

Report: Before trading for Garoppolo, 49ers GM Lynch asked for Brady

49ers GM John Lynch, when initially rebuffed in his attempt to acquire Jimmy Garoppolo, asked Bill Belichick about the availability of the Patriots' other quarterback in a trade, according to FOXSports' Jay Glazer.

Want to guess what Belichick's answer was?

Eventually, Lynch must've worn Belichick down on Jimmy G - and somehow couldn't sell him on trading Tom Brady - as the Patriots and 49ers completed a deal Monday that sent Garoppolo to San Francisco for a second-round pick.

As for Garoppolo's future in San Francisco, it depends on who you read. ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that sources tell him that if the Niners turned around and traded Jimmy G, they could "possibly get more back than the second-round pick they surrendered." However, Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com reports that Garoppolo could have a long-term deal with the Niners before he takes a snap for them.

 

#FridayBag: Farewell, Jimmy G Edition

#FridayBag: Farewell, Jimmy G Edition

Each week, Tom E. Curran, Phil Perry and Mike Giardi take your Patriots questions in a joint mailbag, or #FridayBag as it’s come to be known. Giardi takes a bye during this bye week, but Curran and Perry aren’t sitting this one out. 

Got a question for the trio? Tweet it using the hashtag #FridayBag and they’ll do their best to answer it. On to this week’s edition:

TC: They wouldn’t have gotten anything. Every team would have known that Garoppolo was headed for free agency in early March. Why pay for something you can bid on later. It’s not a terrible question and maybe the Patriots could have gotten that second-rounder in February but that’s not a dice-roll worth playing, in my opinion.

TC: I don’t know where I’ve made Bill Belichick “look like a genius” in this. The Patriots had a bad hand. If they traded Garoppolo in the spring and Brady got hurt or dipped, they’d have been screwed. If they trade him now, they get a diminished return and kept him around as insurance they didn’t really need. If they auctioned him around the league, maybe they’d have gotten more but my sense on that is Belichick WANTS to see Garoppolo do well and felt he owed it to him to put him in a decent spot. Additionally, he didn’t want the attention that a “FOR SALE” sign hung on Jimmy would have attracted so he quietly sent him to SF. If they franchised him, they would have been on the hook for $25 million if/when Garoppolo signed the thing and the roster would have to be revamped in order to keep a trade chip when a QB-loaded draft was approaching. They have a bad hand because they were smart enough to draft Garoppolo and do a great job developing him but they were even smarter 18 years ago when they drafted Brady. You pay car insurance, right? If you don’t get in a crash by the time the year runs out, did you get fleeced? I mean, think of all the money you spent. Same thing.

TC: That was the perfect way to split the baby. Jimmy hates the cold though. It was a no-go.

TC: Hey Jeff, I would venture there was thought. But the level at which Brady is playing, the stickiness of trading the greatest quarterback ever while he’s still putting up numbers and the fact this team is still competing for a Super Bowl annually meant it never rose to the level of “serious thought.” Brady’s dip has been too slow in coming for the team to contemplate moving on to a promising but unknown quantity. 

PP: The Patriots are in need of defensive tackles at the moment so Vincent Valentine would be a nice addition if and when he's able to return off of IR. He is sticking around the Foxboro area during the bye week as he continues to rehab. If he returns, that might mean fewer reps for players like Lawrence Guy or Malcom Brown, who've been used extensively through the first half of the season. Valentine's presence may also allow someone like Deatrich Wise, who has played inside occasionally, to spend more time on the edge. 

As far as McClellin goes, who he replaces will depend on how the Patriots use him. If he's viewed as an additional edge piece, maybe he sees some of Cassius Marsh's workload. If he's going to play off the line, David Harris could see his recent bump in play slide back down. 

PP: It's already evolving, Steve! Bill Belichick acknowledged that because his team is thin on the defensive line, they used their linebackers to supplement that group against the Chargers. That meant more linebackers getting up the field and into the line of scrimmage. We'll have a piece on the creativity in the front-seven hitting NBCSportsBoston.com this weekend. It's interesting stuff, and it'll take you back to 2014. 

Now, just to get to all the specific players you mention . . . here are my takes, quickly: Kyle Van Noy has taken on the Hightower role as hybrid end/'backer, it seems; McClellin's return may allow him to play a similar role and could cut into some of the workloads that players such as David Harris, Elandon Roberts, Marquis Flowers and Trevor Reilly have seen lately; Valentine isn't guaranteed to return, remember, since he's continuing to rehab and since the Patriots could opt to bring back Malcolm Mitchell instead. That hasn't been ruled out. Teams are only allowed to bring two players back off of IR, and McClellin should be the first. 

PP: It's close. Brady was 22 and (about) eight months old when he was drafted. He would have to play through his 44-year-old season (2021) to earn the "majority of my life in the NFL" thing. Pretty impressive considering quarterbacks between 2008 and 2014 had an average career length of less than three years, according to the Wall Street Journal. 

PP: Maybe, Mason, but I don't think so. The motivation will be there for Brady as long as he knows they're looking for the next guy. Which they are. The decision to draft Garoppolo was the just the air horn signaling the search was real.

PP: Real funny, Giardi! Just kidding. Of course, it's not him. His handle is @IllmissyouforeverJimJim10. Poor fella. First pick? I'd say the Browns get it for the second straight year. Just can't see them winning more than a couple by season's end. Think the Niners have the ability to win two or three, especially since their schedule includes the one-win Giants and the Watson-less, Watt-less, Mercilus-less Texans. 

PP: If there were, now would be the time to fill them. The bye week could be a valuable catch-up period, and so the fact that none of these are already in-house makes me think they won't be. 

PP: Yes. And keep an eye on the 2019 class while you're at it, Chris.