New England Patriots Should Tank in 2020

In 2001 Tom Brady took over at quarterback for the New England Patriots after Drew Bledsoe got injured. But on Tuesday the future Hall of Famer said on Twitter he won’t be returning to New England for the 2020 season. No one (except maybe Brady) knows for sure where the former Michigan quarterback will wind up (though the smart money is still on the Los Angeles Chargers), but the Patriots now need to figure out the best way to negotiate their quarterback situation going forward.

New England Patriots Should Tank in 2020

Names Being Floated as Brady’s Replacement

Finding Brady’s replacement may prove difficult, particularly for the 2020 season. Some names have already been thrown around, including Cam Newton (who is available via a trade, especially since the Carolina Panthers just signed Teddy Bridgewater), Philip Rivers, Andy Dalton, Jameis Winston, Derek Carr, Nick Foles, Taysom Hill and Jarrett Stidham (who is currently on the Pats roster).

The Patriots shouldn’t go anywhere near Newton or Winston, in particular, or Rivers or Dalton really. Carr, Foles and Hill may be somewhat viable options, but they don’t seem like they are true, long term options. The best option for the Patriots is to tank in 2020 for Trevor Lawrence.

Why Tank?

It’s highly unlikely the Patriots would have gone on to win the Super Bowl this coming season even if Brady had decided to remain in New England, unless they upgraded at wide receiver, tight end and offensive line. Now that Brady has made it clear he’s leaving the Patriots, it is even more doubtful they’ll be Super Bowl champions this season.

If the Patriots are already headed for a subpar season (by their standards anyway) in 2020, why not just bottom out for one season so they can draft Lawrence? If they actually wind up with the first overall pick in the 2021 draft, selecting Lawrence would cost the organization one horrible season, where they weren’t going to be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy anyway, and no draft capital. The Indianapolis Colts essentially ended up doing this when Peyton Manning had to have neck surgery and they went from Manning to Andrew Luck.

Trevor Lawrence has the physical tools and football IQ to be an incredible quarterback in the NFL. If college football players could leave after one year he would have been the number one overall pick in last year’s draft.

Issues With Tanking

Of course, there is no guarantee the Pats would find themselves with the worst record in the league and therefore the first pick in 2021. If they failed to secure the first pick, they would have to trade draft picks to move up to take Lawrence. However, it would be worth it and New England would have to give up less draft capital to move up from the seventh or eighth spot to the first pick.

The two biggest issues with the Patriots tanking are Bill Belichick not even entertaining the idea and the Patriots defense being talented enough to help the team win too many games for tanking to actually work.

Last Word

It’s not a 100% forgone conclusion that tanking would work out perfectly, and it’s almost impossible to see Belichick going down that road. But if the Patriots and Belichick could talk themselves into it and completely bottom out in 2020 and draft Lawrence, they could be set at quarterback for another 10-20 years.

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