Exploring Quarterback Options for the Patriots
It feels like half the Quarterbacks in the NFL could be on the move this offseason. We've already seen Stafford, Goff and Wentz move and we're still over 3 weeks away from the start of the new league year. You have a decent free agent class led by Dak Prescott and Mitchell Trubisky. You have the QB's expected to be traded like Deshaun Watson, Jimmy Garoppolo and many more. Add in the fact that this year's draft has a pretty good QB class and there is a lot of QB's available this offseason.
With that, we shift our focus to the New England Patriots and what they might do at QB. The Cam Newton experiment was a complete disaster last season and there is no way the Patriots can go back to him in 2021. Luckily for the Patriots, this is a pretty good offseason to be looking for a new QB. I'm going to go through some of the names that will likely be available to the Patriots and give you my take on how realistic a change the Patriots have of landing said QB and if I'd even want them or not. I'm going to leave out Trevor Lawrence cause he's all but a lock for the first overall pick but everyone else that you've heard could be available this offseason has a chance to be starting at QB for the Patriots in 2021.
Deshaun Watson - I give this a 1% change of happening. Would I want him? Absolutely, who wouldn't? Should the Patriots explore it? Yes. But the idea of him wanting to be here and Nick Caserio trading him here seems unrealistic. I'm also not sure I'd want to give up what it might take for Watson. Three first round picks, if that's the ask, wouldn't exactly be smart for a Patriots organization that needs to add as many good young players as possible to build this team back up.
Dak Prescott - If he's gone from Dallas, which I don't buy, I think the Patriots have a chance. Dak would cost a lot but it might not be as much as if he wasn't coming off a serious leg injury. He might come at just enough of a discount for the Patriots to get involved. He would be a perfect fit here in New England but I wouldn't count on it happening.
Jimmy Garoppolo - Give me Jimmy G! This is the guy I want the most and I think the Patriots have a realistic chance at getting him back. If San Francisco is looking to trade him, you have to think New England is the favorite to land him. Bill Belichick did his buddies in San Fran a solid by trading them Jimmy for just a 2 back in 2017, you'd like to think they'd do Belichick a solid in return if he's interested. Belichick still loves Jimmy, I know it, you know it and he'd love to have him back. While injuries are a concern, when he does play he wins. He has an impressive 26-9 record as a starter including playoffs. Jimmy knows the system, knows the culture, he's the perfect fit.
Mitchell Trubisky - Sure, why not? Trubisky was the 2nd overall pick in 2017 for a reason. He's got talent and untapped potential that the Bears haven't been able to bring out. Give Belichick and Josh McDaniels a young talent like Trubisky and I think they could get the most out of him. For all his struggles, he surprising has a solid 29-21 record as a starter, with a winning record in each of his last 3 seasons and made the playoffs twice. He is 0-2 in the playoffs but he was far from the problem putting up QB ratings of 89.6 and 96.8 in those two games.
Sam Darnold - Absolutely not. Don't want him and I don't think Belichick would have much interest in him. I'll never forget his "seeing ghost" comment when he played the Patriots in 2019. He get's confused way too easily by defenses. He doesn't feel like a smart QB and that's a quality that I definitely want in the next Patriots QB.
Teddy Bridgewater - Another hard no for me. He's older than you realize cause he missed multiple season's with injury. He got exposed as a full time starter last year in Carolina. The pre-injury, Minnesota Bridgewater is not coming back, he'd be Cam 2.0 here in New England.
Zach Wilson - I'd love Zach Wilson but his draft stock is through the roof at this point and he's likely going top 5 if not 2nd overall. I don't see a scenario where the Patriots could land Wilson. I do think he'd be a perfect fit in the Patriots offense though due to his accuracy and ability to read the defense and go through his progressions. Again though, I just don't see him falling into the Patriots range.
Justin Fields - I'm a little bias when it comes to Fields. I'm an Ohio State fan and I like Fields a lot but I'm not sure he's going to be a great NFL QB. The Patriots would likely have to trade up for him and it's too risky to make that move so I'd say pass. If he falls to 15, we can talk and while I'm not sold on him, he does have potential and as a Buckeyes fan I would be pretty excited if the Patriots ended up with Fields.
Trey Lance - My 6th QB in this draft class, I just don't like him as much as other people. If the Patriots took him at 15 I'd be pretty disappointed. I just think he's too raw and inexperienced. He's this year's version of Jordan Love. He should go in the late 20's and sit for a few years. He's not an immediate starter and doesn't feel like the type of QB the Patriots would target.
Ryan Fitzpatrick - Unless you get your hands on Mac Jones or Kyle Trask in the draft and want them to sit for the first few weeks behind a veteran I want nothing to do with Fitzy. He is your typical journeyman QB who can fill in for a real starter and might win you a game or two. His entire career he's basically been a losing QB. He's never made the Playoffs and had a winning record in only 3 seasons in his 16 year career. No thanks.
Mac Jones - I like Mac Jones a lot. He is definitely linked to the Patriots and it wouldn't shock me if he ends up here. Would I take him at 15? I'm not sure. He's far from a sure thing and played on a loaded Alabama team. If you factor in both him as a player and how realistic it is that the Patriots can get their hands on him, he might be the best case scenario if the Patriots do in fact draft a QB. Coming from Alabama and the Saban connection, you have to think Belichick likes Mac Jones.
Kyle Trask - There's a chance you could get him in round 2 of the draft and if you can, I'm super intrigued. I like Trask a lot and would much rather see the Patriots draft a QB in the 2nd round so Trask is my guy. I think he has similar traits to Mac Jones but because he wasn't on the National stage as much, people aren't talking about him. He's not a runner like Fields, Lance and Wilson but that's not a deal breaker for me, it might actually be a positive. Trask is one of my favorite QB's in this class.
Marcus Mariota - Don't love Mariota, never have. Ever since he crapped his pants in the 2014 National Championship against Ohio State I've been skeptical of Mariota. Would he be an upgrade of Cam Newton? Absolutely. Put on the tape of him last year in Gruden's offense and he flashed. Could Josh McDaniels get the most out of him? It's very possible. The scenario where I'd welcome Mariota is if you draft a guy like Trask in round two and trade for Mariota for one year. Mariota probably won't cost you a ton either, maybe a 4th or 5th round pick.
Alex Smith - All indications are the Football Team will be going with Heinicke or bringing in someone new. Smith is probably done there. He seemed to bounce back nicely from his injury and you could do much worse if you just looking for a one year filler. He is nothing more than a stopgap but I'd welcome Smith. Although the Patriots should be shooting a little higher for their QB in 2021.
Derek Carr - It doesn't appear he's as available as it seemed a month ago. The Raiders might move forward with Carr but if he is available he'd be a guy I'd like to see the Patriots consider. He's just an overall solid QB, nothing special but better than average. After what the Patriots went through last year, basically having the worst QB play in the NFL, Carr would be a welcoming sight. Carr has improved every year he's been in the league, he had a career high 101.4 QB rating in 2020 and seems to be hitting the prime of his career. Wherever he plays over the next few years he has a chance to be a top 10 QB.
Jacoby Brissett - Nope, I'm good. Been there, done that. Not a starting QB in this league. The Patriots didn't love him back in the 2018, they probably don't love him now. He is likely going to sign back in Indy to backup Wentz and hope he flames out and he get's a shot at starting again.
Gardner Minshew - One of my favorite options, Minshew is better than you think. The Jaguars are taking Trevor Lawrence at number one so there is a good chance Minshew could be on the move. In a horrible Jaguars offense, Minshew threw 37 touchdowns to 11 interceptions in 20 starts over the last two years. Had a QB rating of 91.2 and 95.9 in each of the last two years. The kid can play, he just needs a better offense, a better coach, a better system overall and I believe he can be a legit NFL starting QB. He seems like the type of QB that Josh McDaniels would want to work with and with Urban Meyer now in Jacksonville it opens up the pipeline for Belichick to get guys from Jacksonville.