By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — The Bears finished adding importance pieces to their football future Saturday on the final day of the NFL Draft, then they signed a key player for 2016.READ MORE: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman Has 'Stepped Aside' Following Independent Probe Into 2010 Sexual Assault Claim Against Former Coach
Brian Hoyer’s the Bears’ new backup quarterback, signed Saturday to a one-year deal worth $2 million, a source confirmed. Now, the Bears have arguably the NFL’s best insurance policy.
More importantly, the 30-year-old Hoyer has experience with new Bears offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains and brings the kind of veteran presence that can benefit Chicago’s offense.
“We’re fired up about that,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said of signing Hoyer. “A lot of starting experience with him, familiarity with Dowell Loggains and (he’s been) when he played last year, so we’re excited to have an experienced quarterback in that role.”
Throughout the draft, the Bears evaluated their options at quarterback, even reportedly looking to trade up for Michigan State standout Connor Cook early in the fourth round. Instead, Pace held off on going for a quarterback, with the Bears’ placement each round not fitting their intentions of finding the best player on the board.
Hoyer was in the Bears’ back pocket ever since the Texans cut him loose weeks ago. This was a move partially made for Loggains, bringing a steady veteran for the new offensive coordinator but just as much for Cutler, too.
Behind the scenes, Cutler has flourished in the scouting reports and film study with smart quarterbacks in the room. Josh McCown and — later — Jimmy Clausen essentially served as second quarterbacks coaches who could only benefit Cutler, logging those late hours in the quarterbacks’ room late at night. Clausen’s knowledge of the schemes were a small but impactful part of Cutler’s efficient 2015 season.READ MORE: Chicago Weather: Frost Advisory For Northwest Indiana
Loggains enters his first season as Bears offensive coordinator, taking many characteristics of the Adam Gase offense to his own system. Having a bright veteran like Hoyer will help that transition — for Cutler, fellow quarterback David Fales and the entire Bears offense — flourish in Year 1.
“We always ask ourselves what kind of teammate are they,” Pace said. “Are they unselfish? Are they for the better of the team? Hoyer definitely fits all those qualities. Talking to Dowell, that quarterback room is a tight-knit room, you’re always conscience who you’re putting in there, and Hoyer’s a really intelligent player.
“Those guys spend a lot of hours together, so you think about all the film they’ll watch when they’re studying the opponent, and it’s nice to have a guy with that kind of experience and that kind of background to pair with Jay as we’re preparing for opponents.”
Hoyer has started 26 NFL games since 2009, completing 58.1 percent of his career passes with 38 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. He started nine contests for the Texans last season, tossing 19 touchdowns and seven interceptions, with a passer rating of 91.4 on the season, which ranked 17th among quarterbacks with at least 300 passing attempts.
Unfortunately for Hoyer, his solid season collapsed miserably to a tough Chiefs defense in the AFC wild-card round, in which he went 15-of-34 with four interceptions and a passer rating of 15.9. Houston lost the game 30-0, an embarrassment on its home field.
That managed to overshadow what was a productive season for Hoyer in Houston. Now comes a fresh start in Chicago, where Hoyer and the Bears are an excellent match.
“When he’s played, he’s been productive,” Pace said. “I like that Dowell has been with him and has a lot of comfort with him. I’ve watched him play over the years — very intelligent player. I know that he has strong work ethic because we have coaches that have been with him. So, I think he’s a good piece to add to the mix.”MORE NEWS: 4,500 COVID Test Kits Stolen From Northwestern University