INDIANAPOLIS — Chris Ballard got his man Monday morning, and the Indianapolis Colts’ quarterback position has been remade.
Veteran backup Brian Hoyer agreed to three-year deal reportedly worth $12 million with $9 million in guarantees to serve as the No. 2 option behind Jacoby Brissett.
Hoyer’s experience will come in handy for a room rocked by the sudden retirement of Andrew Luck on Aug. 24.
Brissett will make just his 18th career start — and first since 2017 — when the Colts visit the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. No other quarterback has been on the active roster since Saturday when Phillip Walker was released and Chad Kelly began his two-game suspension.
Walker — since re-signed to the practice squad — has never been on a 53-man regular season roster, and Kelly has taken just one regular season snap since entering the NFL as the final pick of the draft by the Denver Broncos in 2017.
“Brian has the toughness and accuracy we look for in a quarterback, and he’s been in offensive systems that are similar to ours,” Colts head coach Frank Reich said. “He has a tremendous amount of experience and is a proven leader. Brian’s knowledge will be a valuable resource in supporting Jacoby and the team on and off the field. We are excited to have him here.”
Hoyer joins his seventh franchise in his 11th professional season. He’s made 37 career starts and thrown for 9,902 yards with 48 touchdowns and 30 interceptions.
But he wasn’t the only Colts quarterback celebrating a new contract Monday.
Brissett reached a deal of his own, signing a two-year extension reportedly worth $30 million with $20 million in guarantees.
It’s life-changing money for Indianapolis’ new starter, and it also provides the team with some peace of mind. If Brissett performs as well this season as the Colts expect, they won’t be facing a franchise tag decision in March.
Ballard, in his third season as Indianapolis’ general manager, believes in covering all of his bases at the game’s most important position.
He traded for Brissett as Luck was recovering from shoulder surgery in 2017 and brought Kelly in off the street to participate in the rookie tryout camp this May.
As is the case with the rest of the roster, Ballard always is looking for potential upgrades.
“That could be the difference when you have a good backup, if your starter goes down, between you getting into the playoffs — one, two, three or four wins that he might have to play,” Ballard said. “That could be the difference in you, one, getting maybe home-field advantage, two, maybe just getting in the playoffs. I think having a competent backup is critical, and that’s why Jacoby is where he’s at.”
Brissett and Hoyer have at least one thing in common, both have spent time backing up Tom Brady with the New England Patriots.
They missed each other in Foxborough, Mass., by just two months in 2017.
Brissett was traded to the Colts in early September that year, made his debut during the fourth quarter of a season-opening blowout loss at the Los Angeles Rams and started the final 15 games.
Hoyer returned to New England in November after being cut by the San Francisco 49ers following an 0-6 start. The North Olmsted, Ohio, native has spent parts of five years backing up Brady overall.
Hoyer initially signed with the Patriots as an undrafted free agent out of Michigan State in 2009. He spent his first three seasons there before moving on to the Arizona Cardinals in 2012.
It was there he first crossed paths with Reich, who was the team’s wide receivers coach, and made his first career start.
A two-year stint with his hometown Cleveland Browns followed, during which Hoyer appeared in 17 games and went 10-6 as a starter.
He spent one year each with the Houston Texans (2015) and Chicago Bears (2016) before landing in San Francisco.
The 33-year-old is 16-21 as a starter overall, including an 0-3 record against the Colts. His last game at Lucas Oil Stadium was a head-to-head showdown against Brissett with the 49ers in 2017.
Hoyer was 29-of-46 for 353 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions in a 26-23 overtime loss.
Hoyer was cut by the Patriots on Saturday in favor of rookie Jarrett Stidham, a fourth-round pick out of Auburn.
Hoyer was 18-of-22 for 202 yards with two touchdowns and one interception during the preseason for New England.
The Colts released safety Rolan Milligan to make room for Hoyer on the 53-man roster.
Indianapolis also signed four more players to complete its practice squad: defensive end Jamal Davis, running back Quinton Flowers, defensive tackle Brian Price and wide receiver Chad Williams.