New England Patriots Quarterback Options, Ranked

Patriots Quarterback Options

Old friend Tom Brady is getting ready for his 10th Super Bowl, and the New England Patriots desperately need to find options for his replacement at quarterback. Cam Newton did the best he could in a bad situation, but he’s not the long-term answer under center. Fortunately, the Patriots should have plenty of chances to get better at the game’s most important position over the next few months.

Before we start, let’s note that these ranks are based on both the talent of the quarterback and the price it would take to get them. Also, we’re trying to keep this realistic, so players like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, and Zach Wilson will not be on this list, as the Patriots do not possess the draft capital to acquire any of the young passers. Also, note that Aaron Rodgers isn’t on this list because there is no way the Green Bay Packers are dumb enough to trade him away.

Ranking the New England Patriots Quarterback Options

1. Deshaun Watson

Deshaun Watson is one of the best young quarterbacks in the game that is only now reaching his prime. The Houston Texans are a dumpster fire of an organization, and reports make rumors of Watson’s departure more and more likely by the day. Trading for Watson probably means giving up at least three first-round picks, but that’s a price worth paying for a young quarterback of Watson’s caliber. It’s a passing league, after all, and no team can truly compete without a great quarterback. Think of it this way: would you rather have Deshaun Watson or Isaiah Wynn, Sony Michel, and N’Keal Harry?

2. Matthew Stafford

Matthew Stafford is one of the NFL’s better quarterbacks that is being absolutely wasted by a terrible organization. After bringing an end to the failed Matt Patricia experiment, Detroit is once again entering a rebuild. At age 33, Stafford should have a few good years left in him and is more than just a bridge quarterback. As described in a previous article, the Patriots should have the cap space to acquire Stafford without compromising their ability to built a competitive roster.

3. Matt Ryan

Matt Ryan might not be the player he once was, but the 35-year old quarterback is still an above-average passer that can bring a good team into playoff contention. The Falcons are in a similar position to the Lions, as they’re entering a rebuild and probably won’t be ready to compete for at least another season or two. The Falcons could use the fourth-overall pick on Fields or Wilson, which would make Ryan expendable. Even if it means giving up a first-round pick, Ryan should be able to have the Patriots back in the thick of the AFC East race.

4. Cam Newton

Statistically, Cam Newton had a terrible season last year. However, a deeper dive in his film shows that he is not the main reason for New England’s terrible offense. The Patriots had the worst supporting cast in the league, and Newton simply wasn’t good enough to overcome this underwhelming collection of talent.

The same thing happened with Tom Brady in 2019 (albeit to a lesser extent), as some believed him to be washed up due to some relatively disappointing numbers. However, now that he has a better supporting cast, he’s back in the Super Bowl and playing like a top-five quarterback. Nobody is saying that Newton is as good as Tom Brady, but he still has the talent to be a top-20 quarterback in the right system. Armed with tons of cap space, New England should be able to surround whichever quarterback they pick with the weapons required to succeed.

5. Ryan Fitzpatrick

Ryan Fitzpatrick isn’t as good as any of the aforementioned quarterbacks, but he’s significantly cheaper. The career journeyman is set to hit free agency and almost certainly will not re-sign with the Miami Dolphins. Fitzpatrick has a reputation as a very hot and cold quarterback, but the former seventh-round pick was remarkably consistent over the past two seasons. If that version of Ryan Fitzpatrick comes to the Patriots, then he should be good enough to help New England compete for a Wild Card spot.

5A. Jameis Winston

Jameis Winston is essentially just a younger Ryan Fitzpatrick. Every outcome imaginable is on the table every time he drops back to throw, and the good usually outweighs the bad. However, there is some concern that he couldn’t beat out Taysom Hill when given the opportunity this year. The New England Patriots could certainly do worse at quarterback, but they should hope for better.

6. NFL Draft/Jarrett Stidham

This is where the options start getting bad. The New England Patriots currently have the 15th overall pick, which means they don’t stand a chance at acquiring the elite quarterback prospects of this class. However, they do stand a decent shot at grabbing one of Kyle Trask, Trey Lance, or Mac Jones. While all of these quarterbacks have some clear flaws to their game, all of them have something that gives them a shot of working out in the NFL.

Alternatively, the Patriots could roll with third-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Stidham was projected to be a first-round pick in 2018 but saw his draft capital plummet after a terrible 2019. The fact he couldn’t beat out Newton even when New England was mathematically eliminated from the playoffs isn’t a good sign for his future, and he didn’t look good during his limited playing time.

7. Carson Wentz

Carson Wentz was an absolute disaster last year, but that was something of an outlier. Historically speaking, Wentz has always been a good-but-not-great quarterback and could be due for some positive regression in the right system. While he probably won’t ever come close to matching his 2017 play, he could be a serviceable starter. However, the Eagles will probably want a king’s ransom for his services, and the Patriots shouldn’t break the bank for someone that looked that bad in 2020.

8. Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold has not played well since entering the league. However, he’s also had to deal with the worst situation in the league over the past three seasons. While it’s impossible to fully separate the quarterback from his coaching/supporting cast, Darnold consistently makes poor decisions that suggest he is not a NFL-caliber starter. However, he also has a handful of fantastic plays that make you believe he has what it takes to succeed. There is a chance that a change of scenery could bring out the best in Darnold, but the Patriots shouldn’t bank on that unlikely possibility.

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