When Tom Brady was in New England, the Patriots did not have to fret about their quarterback of the current or their quarterback of the longer term. Now, each are main issues.

New England (2-5) introduced in Cam Newton as a low-risk choice at QB after Brady left for Tampa Bay, nevertheless it’s wanting like Newton will not be the reply past 2020. Jarrett Stidham remains to be younger and might be within the plans, however his early NFL performances have not been encouraging. For the Patriots to return to AFC East rivalry, it is possible their subsequent franchise quarterback will come from outdoors the group, be {that a} reunion with Jimmy Garoppolo, jump-starting Mitchell Trubisky’s profession or drafting one of many prime 2021 QB prospects.

For a few years, Brady masked the occasional errors in free company or the draft that the Patriots made. New England’s return to relevance will rely upon discovering one other quarterback, albeit not the G.O.A.T. one, who solves the issues put in entrance of him. Whereas Belichick and the New England entrance workplace will certainly discover each final risk, we have dug into among the extra possible ones right here to see which shoe may match.

Jets end tank for Trevor Lawrence; Patriots, Falcons, Vikings cross on QBs

Can Jarrett Stidham begin for the Patriots?

The decision remains to be out on Stidham to some extent. The 2019 fourth-round draft choose from Auburn has thrown 27 passes in his NFL profession (finishing 13), principally in aid settings that have not allowed for any form of rhythm. However throwing one landing in comparison with 4 interceptions in any pattern measurement is not an ideal begin to an NFL profession.

At 6-3, 215, Stidham appears to be like the a part of an NFL quarterback, however he is simply not fairly a ok passer. At the same time as a junior at Auburn, Stidham accomplished a comparatively pedestrian 60.7 % of his passes for an underwhelming 18 touchdowns in 13 video games. He brings very restricted potential as a runner, so all the pieces about Stidham factors to him being an NFL backup. 

The truth that the Patriots turned to Brian Hoyer forward of Stidham when Newton went on the COVID-19/reserve listing earlier within the season doesn’t mean tons of perception in Stidham’s potential, both. New England actually did not draft him within the fourth spherical anticipating a franchise quarterback (there’s just one mid-to-late spherical QB allowed to show into the G.O.A.T. per franchise). Some anticipated Stidham to be the starter to start 2020 earlier than Cam Newton’s signing, and possibly the Pats will comply with that sample once more heading into 2021. However do not count on Stidham to return to camp with out some very intriguing competitors, at the very least. 

Will the Patriots reunite with Jimmy Garoppolo?

Sporting Information’ Vinnie Iyer not too long ago broke down the probabilities of Garoppolo leaving the 49ers within the offseason. We’ll rehash a few of what he mentioned right here.

Garoppolo is not a candidate to be launched, however he might be a commerce goal to save lots of the 49ers greater than $20 million. New England is at the moment about $60 million in cap house for 2021, so they may afford to tackle Garoppolo’s contract in the event that they plan forward for it. As Iyer wrote, if Nick Foles was enticing to a staff needing a quarterback, Garoppolo actually might be.

New England helps its trigger by being so dangerous in 2020, as a result of every of its draft picks enhance in worth. The Pats will even give ample time to youthful gamers down the stretch, presenting choices for San Francisco to request in a commerce. 

Garoppolo, after all, already is aware of Josh McDaniels’ system. If San Francisco needs a second-rounder for Jimmy G, it may be a deal New England will take (particularly if the Pats count on the draftable QB they need to be passed by their choose).

Different QB commerce candidates within the offseason embody the next gamers who can be obtainable if their staff takes a rookie QB: 

  • Sam Darnold, Jets
  • Gardner Minshew, Jaguars
  • Dwayne Haskins, Washington

MORE: Why Patriots shedding badly in 2020 is the very best factor for Invoice Belichick

Might Cam Newton return to New England in 2021?

Conceptually, sure. Newton might come again to Foxborough in 2021. He is on a one-year contract and must re-sign, which is not out of the realm of risk if New England does not get one other quarterback that it needs. 

Nevertheless, Newton does not seem to be an apparent match to return to the Patriots subsequent season. After an thrilling begin to 2020, Newton has struggled mightily since getting back from the COVID-19/reserve listing. He is falling into the identical sample he did in 2019, throwing passes into the bottom or too excessive over his receivers. With out accuracy, defenses can key on Newton’s working and sluggish that down.

Heading into Week 9, Newton had solely thrown two touchdowns in 2020 in comparison with seven interceptions. He hasn’t been helped by receiver accidents, however that is probably not the purpose right here. The Patriots took a low-risk gamble on Newton for 2020, serving to some extent as a stopgap choice. It hasn’t been a roaring sufficient extent to run it again in 2021.

Different QBs at the moment slated to be free brokers within the offseason embody: 

  • Mitchell Trubisky, Bears
  • Dak Prescott, Cowboys (possible franchise-tagged or prolonged)
  • Jacoby Brissett, Colts (a former Patriot)
  • Tyrod Taylor, Chargers
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick, Dolphins
  • Nick Mullens, 49ers

QB draft targets for Patriots

Earlier than the Pats’ recreation in opposition to the Jets in Week 9, New England sits on the No. eight total choose within the 2021 NFL Draft. The highest QB targets, Trevor Lawrence (Clemson), Justin Fields (Ohio State) and Trey Lance (North Dakota State), might all go earlier than that choice. Fields and Lawrence virtually actually will, though Lance might slide. The newest Sporting Information mock draft has quarterbacks going off the board on the following choices:

  • No. 1: Trevor Lawrence (Clemson)
  • No. 2: Justin Fields (Ohio State)
  • No. 12: Trey Lance (North Dakota State)
  • No. 22: Mac Jones (Alabama)
  • No. 26 Kyle Trask (Florida)

The largest issue as as to if the Patriots wind up with a kind of quarterbacks, and even fast-rising BYU quarterback Zach Wilson, is how they really feel a few given particular person. Belichick and co. have not needed to fear about drafting a top-line QB in so lengthy that they possible will not simply take one to take one. They will need to be actual believers within the participant.

If the Patriots are solely excessive on Lawrence and Fields, they will possible go in a unique course, shore up the remainder of their roster and hope for an excellent quarterback within the following yr’s draft (or certainly, a possible commerce). But when the Pats like Lance (who reminds a few of Newton), Jones, Trask or Wilson, they will possible have a shot to choose one.

In fact, selecting a kind of passers does not assure that is the Day 1 starter in 2021. It’d possible be greatest for New England to have a stopgap choice, be it Stidham or Newton or a unique veteran, to carry down the fort till New England is certain its teen is prepared. But it surely’s actually time for the Patriots to begin fascinated by who the following face of their franchise might be, as a result of it does not appear like the reply is a participant on their present roster.