Bill Belichick's reasoning for wanting Brian Hoyer as his team's backup for 2017? Pretty simple.
"We've had him," Belichick said during a conference call on Monday morning.
The Patriots and Hoyer worked together for three-plus years between his rookie season in 2009 and 2012, when he was released just before the start of the regular season. That relatively brief marriage still provides more than enough in terms of background for Belichick and his staff to understand how Hoyer will work once inside the Gillette Stadium walls.
It's not just that Hoyer understands the Patriots system, which is significant, obviously. But it's that there aren't the same number of unknowns involved with Hoyer that there might be with another player brought in off the street. The Patriots know what he can handle and how he'll fit into the locker room. What he's done in the five-plus years since leaving New England did nothing to turn them off to bringing him back.
"We knew what he could do," Belichick said. "He's been productive. He's been in a lot of big games and big situations so . . . just try to get him ready to go."
This season, as a member of the 49ers, Hoyer completed 119 of 205 attempts (58 percent) for 1,245 yards, four touchdowns and four interceptions. For his career, the 32-year-old carries a 59.3 completion percentage and he's thrown 48 touchdowns against 30 picks.
FOXBORO -- This is a new one. Feels that way at least.
Forget the fact that the Browns and Patriots public-relations teams announced a trade between the clubs, sending Josh Gordon to New England, on Monday. On Tuesday afternoon, the Gordon trade hit the NFL's transaction wire.
That's about as official as official gets, typically. It means that a player has passed his physical, and the league has signed off on the deal. Typically.
Apparently, according to Bill Belichick, it's not officially official. He made that known to reporters at Wednesday's press conference several times.
"We're still working through some transactions on the team," Belichick started. Surely he must have been talking about the Cyrus Jones acquisition and the release of Kenjon Barner, not the Gordon stuff.
But when asked if the Gordon trade was among the transactions the team was "working through," Belichick indicated yes.
"You can ask," he said. "I can't answer . . . "
So it's not done even though it was official with the league?
"That's correct," he said.
According to Tom Pelissero of NFL Media, the conditional seventh-round pick that was included in the initial agreement between the Patriots and Browns is no longer conditional. That seventh is heading New England's way regardless, he says.
The tweak to the language of the deal could be part of Belichick's explanation that it is not yet officially completed.
"If and when it happens, I'm happy to talk about it," he said. "It's not completed. I don't understand how you don't understand that. When it's completed, it's completed. When it's not completed, it's not completed."
Belichick added: "I'm not saying it's not gonna happen. I'm just saying it's not completed. It's a process. When we're through the process, great. We're in another situation. Right now, we're not through the process."
When asked if Belichick would comment on Gordon as a player, generally, he said he wouldn't.
"I'm not going to talk about players that are not actually, I would say, on our roster, totally," he explained. "So when that happens, it happens, if it happens . . .
"There are terms that have to be met before the trade is finalized. When those are completed, then we'll have a completed trade. Until they're completed, then I'm not going to get into it."
As one newcomer (sort of) arrives, another newcomer departs . . .
Barner's return skills were touted as the main reason the Patriots brought him on board last week, but Jones' return make him expendable.