The New England Patriots want to see Tom Brady return to the team for his 21st season in the league but it’s not a certainty that he will. The franchise isn’t going to go into free agency without a back-up plan for the QB position.
Andy Dalton, who is working with the Bengals on finding a new home, could be that option, according to Peter King. Cincinnati is widely expected to select Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, which makes Dalton expendable.
New England reportedly had interested in Marcus Mariota, who lost his starting job as the Titans top QB during the 2019 season. The Patriots’ interest in the No. 2 overall pick is ostensibly as backup QB to whoever is starting in Foxborough next fall.
Teddy Bridgewater may be the best QB option (aside from Brady) on the market. The former Viking led the Saints while Drew Brees was sidelined this past season, going 5-0 in Brees’ absence.
Andy Dalton’s Market Expected to be Competitive
Other teams besides the Patriots have interest in Dalton. The Bears recently spoke with the Bengals about trading for the QB. Mitchell Trubisky had an awful 2019 campaign and the franchise is looking for an option to push the former top draft pick.
In addition to those squads, the Colts could also get involved. The team has been linked to several QBs on the market, including Philip Rivers.
Indianapolis is keeping its options open with regard to its starting QB spot. Jacoby Brissett is still under contract, though the team’s front office is married to him. Brissett has proven he can play in this league, though the jury is still out on whether he can lead a team to the postseason.
Dalton has made the playoffs five times in his career. The former second-rounder is responsible for each of the Bengals’ two wins this past season.
What is Tom Brady Going to do?
None of the Patriots’ back up plans matter if Brady agrees to come back next season.
The quarterback was once believed to likely re-sign with the team where he has played all 20 seasons of his NFL career, but the latest reports from ESPN now suggest Brady will enter free agency next month with the “intention of departing” New England to play with another team in 2020, as our own Jordan Wilson writes.
Perhaps, we shouldn’t read too much into a media personality making a major claim. Brady and Bill Belichick were expected to meet for further discussions but for a number of reasons, including a potential new CBA, the talks have been delayed.
New England has the No. 23 overall pick and it’s possible that the team finagles its way up the draft board to take a decorated signal-caller. Nearly anything is on the table if Brady leaves.
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