|Agent for Browns' Hoyer confident contract coming|
|Tuesday, July 01, 2014 8:00 PM|
By TOM WITHERS
CLEVELAND — Brian Hoyer's precarious grip on the Browns' starting job — and rookie Johnny Manziel's presence — makes it tough to negotiate a new contract for the quarterback.
His agent thinks it will happen anyway.
Hoyer, who is coming back after undergoing offseason right knee surgery, will enter training camp with the lead in his competition with Manziel. But until the Browns are convinced Hoyer is healthy and providing he holds off Manziel, it's difficult for the team to gauge his value. Agent Joe Linta said the sides have had some preliminary discussions but it may be some time before they get serious about negotiations.
"We just had a couple of friendly conversations," Linta wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Tuesday. "They agreed that it's very difficult to assess his worth presently. I think that this will all work itself quickly as the season moves forward."
Hoyer went 3-0 as a starter last season before tearing his anterior cruciate ligament while sliding at the end of a scramble. He recovered more quickly than doctors expected and he moved well during practices in the team's mini-camp this spring. Hoyer was kept out of 11-on-11 drills to avoid contact but he's expected to be fully cleared when training camp opens on July 26.
First-year Browns coach Mike Pettine recently said Hoyer had the lead in the quarterback competition over Manziel, who was selected in the first round of May's NFL draft. Manziel could one day supplant Hoyer as Cleveland's starter but that's not guaranteed, so it's difficult for the team to decide whether they should pay Hoyer like a starter or a backup.
After all, Hoyer had been a career backup before the Cleveland-area native signed a signed a 2-year, $1,965,000 contract with the Browns in May 2013. He received a $250,000 roster bonus in March and is scheduled to make a base salary of $1 million next season. The deal can reach $1.15 million with incentives.
The 28-year-old Hoyer has waited patiently for his chance to start. He's paid his dues. He also has impressed the Browns with his determination to return to the field.
Linta said Hoyer is committed to the Browns and is hoping they feel the same way about him.
"Brian wants to be in Cleveland," Linta added. "He loves how the fans rallied around him and the team during his winning streak last year. He'll never forget that. With that in mind and if the Browns want him, we will work something out eventually. (General manager) Ray Farmer and (executive VP) Sashi Brown are good guys to deal with and they, like the fans, want to win regardless of who the QB is."
Farmer did not reply to an email seeking comment.
Manziel's playbook: hanging with Justin Bieber: Manziel went from hanging out with the Browns to hanging with the Biebs.
Cleveland's rookie quarterback, whose social life has overshadowed his NFL arrival, posted photographs on Twitter of him and Justin Bieber.
Manziel promised last week he wouldn't tone down his well-documented weekend living despite advice from Hall-of-Famers Emmitt Smith, Joe Montana and Warren Moon.
The 22-year-old not only kept his word but seemed to flaunt his celebrity by posting the photos with the pop star heartthrob as well as boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and others.
Manziel is free from football for the next few weeks. The Browns open training camp July 26, when Manziel will resume his competition with Hoyer for the starting job. Manziel spent last week attending the NFL's rookie symposium with Cleveland's other first-year players.
On Friday, Manziel addressed the clamor caused by his social life — he has been filmed spraying champagne on partygoers in Las Vegas, photographed floating on an inflatable swan raft drinking champagne and seen in a video talking on a fake money phone.
Manziel defended his right to party.
"I'm not going to change who I am for anybody," he said. "I'm growing up and continuing to learn from my mistakes and trying not to make the same ones over and over again, but am I going to live in a shell or am I just going to hide from everybody and not do anything? I don't think that's the way I should live my life and I'm not going to do it.
"I'm here. I'm very committed to football. I'm committed to my job, but on the weekends, I'm going to enjoy my time off."
Manziel says he's tired of all the talk about how he spends his free time and he doesn't believe he's endangering his career or chances of beating out Hoyer.
"Everybody goes out on the weekends and enjoys their life and lives their life and just for them," he added. "They don't have people that when they walk into a place pull out their phones and all they want to do is follow me around and record everything. ... Everybody goes out and has fun. Everybody goes out and does that and I'm not doing anything that's putting myself in a harmful situation. I'm not doing anything that's putting my team or jeopardizing what I do here throughout the week, or what I'm looking forward to doing this season."
After attending the 3-day symposium, Manziel visited the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday and spent Sunday in Cleveland filming a TV commercial. But by Monday, he was back in the limelight.
Pettine has said he won't speak to Manziel — or any of his other players — about their off-the-field affairs unless they get involved in criminal activities or it affects their jobs.
To this point, Manziel's only offense seems to be a reluctance to avoid the spotlight.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, July 01, 2014 7:09 PM|