As sad as it is to say, it is now time to move on and move forward. The Patriots are going to have to find a new QB going forward. It’s a conversation that hasn’t been had since before Drew Bledsoe, but it’s happening now. Life after Brady has now dawned itself upon it.
In House Options:
This seems to be the most obvious and popular option to assume the role. Stidham spent last season behind Brady and learned the ropes, but there’s really no telling if he’s ready. He had a fantastic preseason, but struggled in his only regular season action. Everyone has raved about how well he throws the ball in practice, so all we can do is hope it is all legit. He will for sure have some lumps in his game to work out, but if they continue to bolster the team behind him, he should be able to win games the same way Brady did early in his career.
Kessler was on the practice squad for about half of the season last year. He has had some time to learn the system, and he also has had starting NFL experience. That could go a long way if they don’t think Stidham is ready to start the season. Kessler doesn’t seem to be a great long term option, but might be a good placeholder in the short term.
Winston is the only former starter available. He is young and definitely has upside. However, he also has a lot of downside. Since he’s been in the league, nobody has come anywhere close to his interception total. Throwing 30 last season certainly didn’t help his case. I’d be surprised if the Pats dished out anything for Winston.
Bortles is an under the radar option on this list. Bortles had a lot of great flashes while with the Jaguars, and that was under a terrible coaching staff. With the coaching of Bill and Josh. Bortles could still be a legit starter in this league. He also might not be a long term option, but if they want to bridge a gap between Brady, and wait for Stidham to be ready or whoever they draft this season, then he might be a solid and cheap option.
The Bengals seem locked into drafting Joe Burrow as their QB of the future, so they would need to move Andy Dalton to clear the way for him. Dalton has been looked down upon as a starter, but he’s really done a lot with not very much over his career. His first 5 seasons he had a winning record, and has had 4 playoff appearances. That’s more than a lot of other QBs can even sniff. Dalton should not be looked down upon as such a bad option for the Patriots.
Newton is an option that has been opened up for trade offers by the Panthers. There’s gotta be a reason he hasn’t been traded already though. Newton looked broken last season. Not only could he not run like he used to, he could barely even throw. Even the Bears passed up on him for Nick Foles. Cam might end up a backup to start this season, and his ego doesn’t seem like one that would fit well in a Bill Belichick team.
Fromm had a great Freshman campaign, and has had a hard time his last couple of seasons. He did run a spread offense, and played with Sony Michel prior to the Patriots drafting him. He will be available somewhere in the middle of the draft, and could be the guy they want for the future.
McDonald was a beast at Hawaii last season. In his three years he slung 70 TDs on the islands, and could be a sleeper in this draft. They could scoop up McDonald late in the draft and turn him into the next Tom Brady. Sure, that doesn’t just come around every year, but you can always hope.
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-Jake Kobierski (@TheRealKobe83)