For the first time in 20 years, the New England Patriots have a quarterback question. Six-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady is off to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leaving the Patriots searching for his heir. While there are a few starting-caliber options still available via trade or free agency, the Patriots are better off finding out what they have in Jarrett Stidham.
Stidham spent the vast majority of his rookie season on the bench, but played well in the preseason and beat out Brian Hoyer for the backup job. There isn’t enough film to know whether or not he’s the answer under center, but the Patriots owe it to themselves to see if he can be the next leader of the franchise.
New England Patriots Should Roll With Jarrett Stidham
Nobody denies that quarterback is NFL’s most important position. Having a good one allows you to compete every single year, while a bad one can ruin an otherwise talented team. Because of this, the goal for every organization should be finding a true franchise guy.
At this point in time, there is no way to know if Jarrett Stidham can be that guy. However, we do know that Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, and Jameis Winston do not fit that mold. Dalton is mediocrity personified, Newton hasn’t played at a high level since 2015, and Winston is a turnover machine. These quarterbacks are all top-32 options when healthy, meaning that they theoretically should have starting jobs. However, signing any one of these guys could be detrimental to New England’s long-term success.
If you don’t have a top-10 quarterback, your primary goal should be doing everything in your power to get one. Dalton, Newton, and Winston aren’t top-10 quarterbacks, but they’re just good enough to accidentally win a few games. All three aforementioned quarterbacks could win 6-8 games with New England’s current roster, and that’s the worst-case scenario for the Patriots. Given that type of record, they probably won’t be in a position to select their quarterback of the future in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Giving the offense to Jarrett Stidham gives the Patriots the best chance of finding their franchise leader. In a best-case scenario, Stidham turns out to be the guy and New England gets to enjoy another 10-15 years of quarterback security. In a worst-case scenario, Stidham plays like a fourth-round pick, the Patriots go 3-13 and get to select their quarterback of the future in the 2021 NFL Draft. Either way, the Patriots win in the long run.
The New England Patriots have a lot of holes on offense, and not a lot of money to address said holes. Tom Brady may be gone, but his $13.5 million cap hit still remains. According to @patscap, the Patriots currently have just $3.25 million in available cap space and still need to address wide receiver, tight end, and find replacements for Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy. New England can create some space by extending Dont’a Hightower, but the fact remains that money is an issue.
Adding someone like Winston, Newton, or Dalton means that the Patriots would have to clear roughly $15-20 million in cap space. The Patriots would have to pull off a few salary cap tricks to do that, and probably wouldn’t have any money to address any other needs.
Instead of using all available financial resources to secure a bridge quarterback, New England should do everything possible to increase the likelihood of Stidham’s success. It would be hard for anyone to succeed with Stidham’s current supporting cast, so New England should clear some cap space to sign a guy like Emmanuel Sanders or Eric Ebron.
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