Will the New England Patriots keep four quarterbacks heading into the 2021 regular season? That’s just one of the many questions Bill Belichick faces as he prepares to lead his team on what he hopes will be a resurgent year.
Barring a collapse, Cam Newton seems like a lock to be on the roster. To a slightly lesser degree, he seems like the guy who will begin the season as the starting quarterback. Mac Jones was just drafted with the No. 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, so his spot is secure even if he doesn’t wind up starting at quarterback this season.
That leaves Brian Hoyer, the man who was likely re-signed to serve as Jones’ mentor, a second voice from offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to help the rookie learn the system. Lastly, we have third-year quarterback Jarrett Stidham, who doesn’t seem to have a definitive role on the team unless he can do what he couldn’t do in 2020, and that’s beat out Newton for the starting job.
With dynamic, there is no wonder some are predicting Stidham could find himself at the center of a fairly important training camp or preseason trade.
Jarrett Stidham Could Be Traded if He Shines During Preseason
NBC Sports’ Phil A. Perry says a trade “would shake things up,” and he’s right.
Sure, the best-case scenario for the Patriots would include Newton looking the way he looked in 2018, when he was in the MVP discussion about halfway through that year, which would then allow Jones to develop behind the scenes. But an addendum to that best-case scenario would be that Stidham looks like a valuable trade asset during preseason play. Because if Newton is the starter Week 1, having both Jones and Stidham on the roster as young developing backups seems redundant. If, however, Stidham plays well enough in New England’s exhibition games that there’s another team out there willing to part with something for him? That could clear a spot for Hoyer in a three-man quarterback room.
The better Stidham performs in training camp and preseason, the higher his trade value could be if a team is interested. Don’t get it twisted. He’s not going to fetch a third or probably even a fourth-round pick, but recouping any draft selection for Stidham would be a win for the Patriots.
Best-Case Scenario For the Patriots
Ideally, the Patriots will see strong play from all four of their quarterbacks. If Newton performs well, he will eliminate any doubt as to whether he deserves to be the team’s starter. No other quarterback on the roster has his combination of leadership, skills and experience.
If Jones looks good, it is an encouraging sign that the Patriots chose the right guy to be their quarterback of the future. If Hoyer plays well with limited opportunities, he remains at least a decent emergency starter in case of injury. Finally, Stidham shining keeps hope alive that he can be a starter in the NFL.
He’s only 24 years old. If he can show some positives, the Patriots might have a valuable trade chip.
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