The timing of the decision to sign veteran quarterback and trusted Kyle Shanahan lieutenant Rex Grossman invited speculation regarding whether the Browns would consider trading Brian Hoyer, if Johnny Manziel becomes the Week One starter.
Coach Mike Pettine has addressed the situation several times since Grossman arrived. On Tuesday, Pettine was asked whether Grossman’s arrival makes Hoyer expendable.
“No, absolutely not,” Pettine said.
In a Wednesday appearance on ESPN Radio’s Mike & Mike in the Morning, Pettine elaborated on the decision to sign Grossman.
“We were looking to upgrade that third spot,” Pettine said, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We think the world of Brian and he’s been really solid for us. He’s done nothing to have that job taken away and we’re really pleased with where he is. A lot of people don’t realize when he played in Detroit, it was his first live action since coming off a serious knee injury and we thought he handled himself very well.”
Asked again about the topic at a Wednesday press conference, Pettine downplayed the possibility but didn’t completely and unequivocally rule it out.
“We’re not going to comment on every story that’s out there,” Pettine said in response to the question of whether there’s absolutely nothing to a report that the team would like to trade Hoyer. “We made a move to strengthen our quarterback room, and you just get these stories coming out. I don’t want to be in the habit of commenting on all of them.”
Still, if the Browns are prepared to go with Manziel and if they believe that Grossman provides a competent backup option in the event Manziel gets injured, why not trade a guy who otherwise will be a free agent in March? Two large ifs reside in that sentence, but if those ifs are satisfied, Hoyer is indeed expendable.