Patriots Release Backup QB Clearing Vital Cap Space: Report

Cody Kessler

Getty Cody Kessler was reportedly released by the New England Patriots on Wednesday

The New England Patriots are down to two quarterbacks on their roster. On Wednesday, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported the team was releasing Cody Kessler. With Kessler’s release and the departure of Tom Brady, the Patriots now have only Jarrett Stidham and recent free-agent signee Brian Hoyer on the roster at the position.

Here is the tweet from Rapoport:

What Cutting Cody Kessler Accomplished

Per Miguel Benzan, a Patriots salary-cap expert, the move to release Kessler will free up close to $260,000, which gives the team a bit more breathing room to operate. The Patriots’ cap number is now a little over $1.1 million.

That’s not enough to accommodate their 12 draft picks, and certainly not enough to chase a free-agent replacement some of the fanbase is still fantasizing about, but it’s a start.

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Could the Patriots Bring Cody Kessler Back?

The Patriots have made the habit of bringing reserve quarterbacks back to the team. Current QB2, Brian Hoyer, is now in his third stint with the team. Kessler was released in 2019 and brought back as well.

It’s possible Kessler could be brought back or even signed to the team’s practice squad in accordance with the new CBA rules. That seems like a better fit for him at this point, unless he can get an opportunity to be on an active roster elsewhere. In the event the Patriots want to bring him back in that capacity, Kessler will likely find out if other teams are interested in offering him what he considers a better option.

Is Carrying 2 Quarterbacks Unheard Of for the Patriots?

While the release of Kessler may have folks convinced the team is going to add another player at the position—and they may be right—the Patriots have soldiered on with two QBs before.

Over the past 20 years, essentially the Brady years, the Patriots have carried just two QBs to start the season seven times.

Other teams have done that recently as well, but that mostly happens when a team has an unquestioned No. 1 starter in place and one who has proven to be durable in his career. Jarrett Stidham is likely the man to head into training camp as QB1, but he has never started an NFL game. In fact, he has only four regular-season pass attempts.

There doesn’t appear to be enough stability at the position for Bill Belichick to feel comfortable with just two QBs headed into the 2020 season, but we’ll find out for sure once the NFL Draft rolls around on April 23.

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