It is no secret that the New England Patriots are going into the offseason looking for a new quarterback. After allowing Tom Brady to leave after 20 years with the team, the Patriots took a flier on QB Cam Newton to come in and be their starter for the 2020 NFL season.
After his one year in New England, It’s safe to say that the experiment with Newton didn’t go exactly as head coach Bill Belichick planned. The 2015 league MVP was anything but stellar with the Patriots, only throwing for 8 touchdowns while throwing 10 interceptions.
Cam Newton and the Patriots are expected to part ways this offseason, per @AdamSchefter
Another free agency for Cam pic.twitter.com/y97LnMAYXM
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 3, 2021
It should be put into consideration that Newton didn’t have much to work with when it came to New England’s skill positions, but regardless of that, he was very wish-washy. Some games Newton looked great, other games he looked like he didn’t belong in the league. And with that being the case, it became quite obvious that the Patriots would be looking to upgrade the position during the 2021 offseason.
— Warren Sharp (@SharpFootball) December 29, 2020
As always, there are three routes to go when it comes to adding to the roster: free agency, the trade market, and the draft. I gave a quick little run down of the free agent options here, but they aren’t all that strong. However, it is still an option for New England.
The team could just be looking for another one-year rental -like Ryan Fitzpatrick- to bridge the gap while they groom a future draft pick. A name that has been frequently mentioned when it comes to potential draftees is Alabama signal-caller Mac Jones.
#Patriots, #Saints, #Texans meet with Alabama QB Mac Jones at #SeniorBowl.https://t.co/UXKmd3qm2C (via @ChaseGoodbread) pic.twitter.com/07QTWEVjx0
— NFL Draft (@NFLDraft) January 29, 2021
It may turn out to be true that New England signs a veteran, or selects a QB -like Jones- in this upcoming draft. But at the same time, do you really think Belichick wants to wait around grooming a young quarterback after watching Tom Brady win his 7th Super Bowl ring down in Tampa Bay? I sure don’t. Belichick is 68-years-old and isn’t getting any younger.
Could he end up coaching for 10 more years? Sure, but he has already accomplished so much in the league that retirement could on the horizon. So with a lackluster free agent market of quarterbacks, and time not on Belichick’s side, that leaves the door open for the Patriots to explore the trade market.
Matthew Stafford is already off the table, but there are still plenty of names out there. Deshaun Watson, Carson Wentz, and Sam Darnold to name a few. Still, a name that has garnered some attention over the past few days is Las Vegas Raiders backup quarterback Marcus Mariota.
From NFL Now: The #Raiders could trade a QB… but maybe not the one who has been in the headlines. pic.twitter.com/EEcXd2WtLt
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) February 10, 2021
Mariota, the former number two overall pick in the 2015 draft, is still only 27-years-old and has shown plenty of potential during his time in the league. Especially in his sophomore season, where he threw for 26 touchdowns compared to only 9 interceptions.
Insane throw from Marcus Mariota.
— Jordan Reid (@Jordan_Reid) July 9, 2018
Even this past season, Mariota had to step in for an injured Derek Carr and played lights out for Las Vegas. His play that game caught the eye of many, and that is a big reason why his name has resurfaced this offseason.
During his career, the biggest issue with Mariota has been both his health and consistency. But at the same time, Carson Wentz is a hot commodity on the trade front despite having very similar issues.
So is there a chance that the Patriots take a chance and go after Las Vegas’s backup? Possibly. Mariota’s price tag is decently high for a starving quarterback market, and the unknown with him would make it tough to part with a high-draft pick for him.
The Raiders were soooo smart to sign Mariota to a multi-year deal and he did his part by balling out in his one chance to play last year. Now QB Thirst + the washing machine of time has given them a commodity that could easily draw a second round pick in return https://t.co/vV33NY94RY
— Sigmund Bloom (@SigmundBloom) February 10, 2021
But on the flip side, Mariota has a relatively cheap contract, and may fit better under a coach like Belichick, rather than guys like Mike Mularkey or Ken Wisenhunt.
At the end of the day, the question of whether or not he can fix the Patriots’ quarterback problems comes down to Belichick. Does he believe in the former Heisman Trophy winner? Because if he does, it would be a pretty easy move for him to go out and snatch him up.
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– Jarrod Ribaudo (@jarrod_ribaudo on Twitter)