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Patriots agree to terms with Brian Hoyer

Tom Brady’s former backup is back in New England for a third tour of duty.

Brian Hoyer agreed to terms with the Patriots on Sunday.
Brian Hoyer agreed to terms with the Patriots on Sunday.Lane Turner/Globe Staff

Brian Hoyer is back.

According to a league source, the Patriots on Sunday agreed to terms with the veteran quarterback who was released by the Colts on Saturday. This will be Hoyer’s third tour of duty in New England, where he broke into the league as a rookie free agent in 2009.

In addition, the Patriots also agreed to terms with former Jets linebacker Brandon Copeland, according to a league source.

The Patriots signed Hoyer Nov. 1, 2017, a day after trading Jimmy Garoppolo to the 49ers, and he spent the next year and half as Tom Brady’s backup.

Hoyer was cut at the end of 2019 training camp, but the Patriots were hoping to bring him back after sorting through some injury issues at other positions. They never got the chance, however, as the Colts swooped in and signed Hoyer to a three-year deal.

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Brian Hoyer is back in New England.
Brian Hoyer is back in New England.Jim Davis

Indianapolis cut Hoyer on Saturday, a move that saved the Colts $3 million in cap room. The 12-year veteran was due a $2 million bonus Sunday.

According to ESPN, Hoyer’s New England deal is for one year and $1.05 million.

In his second stint in New England, Hoyer served as a valuable and knowledgeable backup to Brady. In addition, Hoyer drew rave reviews from his teammates for his work as a scout team quarterback in 2018.

The 34-year-old Hoyer consistently molded his game to mimic the skill-set of the upcoming opposing quarterback as the Patriots raced to their sixth Super Bowl title, a 13-3 win over the Rams.

Hoyer’s familiarity with the Patriots offensive schemes will allow him to challenge for the starter’s job with Jarrett Stidham. Even if Stidham wins the job, Hoyer, who has 38 career starts under his belt, will be an excellent resource and mentor for the second-year player.

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The Patriots also have Cody Kessler in the quarterback group.

In Copeland, the Patriots get a player that will help restock a linebacking group that lost key Boogeymen Jamie Collins (Lions), Kyle Van Noy (Dolphins), and Elandon Roberts (Dolphins) in free agency.

The 6-foot-3-inch, 263-pound Copeland, who collected 42 tackles and 1.5 sacks last season, entered the league as an undrafted rookie out of Penn in 2013.

The 28-year-old Brandon Copeland played the last two years with the Jets.
The 28-year-old Brandon Copeland played the last two years with the Jets.Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

Copeland, 28, who also agreed to a one-year contract, possesses many of the traits the Patriots value in their linebackers, most notably versatility. Though he’s been known mostly as an outside linebacker, Copeland can play all over. He has experience as a pass rusher, run defender, and also can drop into coverage.

In addition, Copeland, whom the Patriots showed interest in last offseason, is a polished special teams player.

In addition to Hoyer and Copeland, the Patriots have also agreed to deals with five other free agents: cornerback Lenzy Pipkins, defensive tackle Beau Allen, safety Adrian Phillips, fullback Danny Vitale, and receiver Damiere Byrd.



Jim McBride can be reached at james.mcbride@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @globejimmcbride.