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Brian Hoyer contract extension will be 'very difficult'

The Cleveland Browns used last month's draft to grab their quarterback of tomorrow in Johnny Manziel. The team hopes to keep his competition around for the long haul, too.

NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Monday that the Browns have staged preliminary talks with Brian Hoyer's camp about a contract extension.

Rapoport spoke with Hoyer's agent, Joe Linta, who confirmed that while discussions have taken place, "it will be a very difficult deal to do. We're always open to talking with the Browns, but we're content to wait and see what happens down the road."

The reality is that Hoyer's value might shift dramatically between now and season's end. He could materialize as a successful starter or remain a solid backup. The difference could mean as much a $7 million per year, one executive from another team told Rapoport.

It's easy to see why the Browns would angle for a deal today, with Hoyer slated to earn $1 million this year in the final season of the two-year pact he signed in May 2013.

The 28-year-old journeyman started just three games for the team last season -- winning two -- but Hoyer quickly impressed Mike Pettine and Cleveland's new coaching staff during his return from the torn ACL he suffered last October.

If an extension were to come sooner than later -- which sounds unlikely -- two recent contracts for "bridge" quarterbacks are worth a look: Matt Cassel's two-year, $10 million contract with the Vikings and Chad Henne's two-year, $8 million arrangement with the Jaguars.

Keeping Manziel on the bench looms as a herculean task, but Hoyer will enter camp as the team's No. 1 arm after his "far superior" play during OTAs and this month's minicamp.

The Browns have yet to discover what they truly have in either signal-caller, but the current combination of passers is wildly preferable to the parade of nonsense Cleveland has wheeled out under center since 1999.

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