The New England Patriots had five players in for workouts on Thursday, and one of them is former Ole Miss star and XFL player Jordan Ta’amu, per ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
Others on the list might actually have a better chance gaining a roster spot, but the QBs always get the attention.
Jordan Ta’amu is a Well-Traveled, But Still Young QB
Most recently, Ta’amu played for the Kansas City Chiefs, but he was waived in May. Ta’amu also spent time with the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions in the NFL, while also having a stint with the XFL’s St. Louis Battlehawks.
In college, Ta’amu had a pretty strong run at Ole Miss. He’d transferred there from New Mexico Military Institute, but he got an opportunity to play a ton as a senior. Ta’amu accounted for 40 TDs with the Rebels (30 passing and 10 rushing) during his collegiate career. Coming in for a workout is one thing, and sticking on a roster is another.
As of now, the Patriots have five quarterbacks on their roster: Cam Newton, Mac Jones, Brian Hoyer, Jarrett Stidham and Jake Dolegala. There is already rampant speculation that one of the four will be released or traded, with most looking at Stidham (who is currently on the PUP list following back surgery) as the likely odd man out.
If the Patriots make a roster move cutting Stidham, they would be looking to trim the amount of players at the position, which makes it a little strange to see the team bring in another signal-caller for a workout.
Why the Patriots Might Be Taking a Look at Ta’amu
There are likely three logical reasons the Patriots would bother bringing Ta’amu in or a workout, and the first one I’ll offer is the least exciting. New England could simply be doing their due-diligence by taking a closer look at a player they don’t currently have a spot for, but would like to see up close in the event something comes up.
Translation: there is nothing imminent, and if you’re strictly a Patriots fan, you may never hear Ta’amu’s name again.
The second reason could suggest the Patriots are going to switch things up a little bit and carry two practice squad quarterbacks and perhaps four active guys at the position on the main roster. This seems highly unlikely as active roster spots are like gold on gameday. However, in the most unorthodox way, the Patriots may have Dolegala and Ta’amu on the practice squad with Newton, Jones and Hoyer active at the start of the season while Stidham heals up. Ta’amu has pretty good mobility, so he may be able to serve as player capable of mimicking elusive quarterbacks the Patriots have on their 2021 schedules.
That’s a potentially valuable and sometimes overlooked quality teams consider when filling out their practice squads.
Lastly, the Patriots could be anticipating a major roster move or two at quarterback. If Stidham is on the verge of being released or traded and/or Dolegala–or even Newton’s time is short on the roster, the Patriots could be adding depth.
Like the second possibility, this also seems very unlikely. Bill Belichick has said on two occasions Newton is his starter. Despite the counter narrative being pushed in some circles, we have no reason to believe anything else.
Jones isn’t going anywhere, and Hoyer is probably secure as his mentor. Stidham and Dolegala probably have the same degree of job security at this point, but if they are shipped out in any way, there is still little chance Ta’amu replaces them.