USA TODAY Sports
Contrary to prior thought, Cardinals QB Brian Hoyer is actually a restricted free agent as opposed to an unrestricted player.
While the Cardinals continue to search for that next guy to take over at the starting quarterback position, they may have their backup already in place. As I have said before, I do not expect John Skelton or Ryan Lindley to be with the team next season. As for Brian Hoyer, that is another story.
Hoyer showed flashes in his 1.5 games played with the Cardinals and even though there is a new coaching regime, they might choose to take another look at his skills. And it might not cost them all that much to do so.
Hoyer was believed to be an unrestricted free agent come March 12, but according to some digging from Cardinals team writer Darren Urban, Hoyer will actually be restricted. He only spent a total of five games on a roster this season and it takes six to become eligible for a season played. Since he didn't hit the mark, he now only has three seasons played under his belt instead of four, which would have made him an unrestricted player.
Urban notes that the Cardinals can now tender Hoyer at the minimum of $1.3 million, which he expects them to do. Really, it seems like a foregone conclusion that they will do so. He was the best quarterback outside of Kevin Kolb on the roster last season, which is saying something considering the lack of time he spent on the team.
If another team offers more, the Cards can either choose to match the offer or let him walk away.
At the very least, the Cardinals can give him a tender, bring him into training camp and see if he is worth retaining for another season before he hits the open market. If not, they can just as easily cut him. I expect to see him back in a Cardinals uniform next season, possibly as the second signal caller on the depth chart (hopefully not the first).