Brian Hoyer likely won't return to Cleveland Browns

Brian Hoyer's quest for a long-term contract with the Cleveland Brownshas all but washed away.

With Johnny Manzieltaking over the team's starting quarterback job, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport told NFL Network on Tuesday that the switch "almost certainly means Brian Hoyer will not be a member of the Browns for the 2015 season."

With Hoyer expected to hit free agency, "there will be a market for him, as there was this offseason for several quarterbacks that seemed to be similar to how he was," Rapoport noted. Names like Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chad Henne occupied the same corner of the open-market universe that Hoyer would find himself in.

Fitzpatrick signed a two-year, $7.5 million deal with the Texans in March while Henne signed a two-year, $8 million pact with the Jaguars. Hoyer's starting days might be over, but he is widely seen as a strong leader and tireless worker. His better moments from this season should entice someone to bring him on as a veteran backup.

"This is a career you can have in the NFL for 10 years, of course nothing to be ashamed of," Rapoport said, but still: "Not quite the direction it seemed to be going when Hoyer led the Browns to a 7-5 start that put them on fire and headed to the postseason."

Hoyer himself pondered on Monday "how fast things change" in the NFL. Especially at the quarterback position, where fringe passers like Hoyer wear out their welcome after the kind of down-and-out month he endured.

If past Browns castoffs Colt McCoy, Brandon Weeden and Derek Anderson can cement themselves as backups and spot starters around the league, a player like Hoyer has a shot at an equal role. His days in Cleveland, though, are ticking down.

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