It seemed inevitable that the New England Patriots would move on from at least one backup QB after drafting Western Kentucky star Bailey Zappe in the fourth round. In 2019, the Patriots missed on several draft picks, most notably Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry and Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham.
Now, according to Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer, Stidham is on the move, along with a 2023 seventh-round pick, after being traded to the Las Vegas Raiders for a 2023 sixth-round pick. The trade might not come as a surprise to Patriot fans given that Stidham hasn’t seen much of the field in two seasons, recording just 48 passing attempts, 24 completions and 2 touchdowns against 4 interceptions so far.
One of those interceptions was a pick-six against the divisional rival New York Jets in 2019. While he was drafted to possibly be the future, his collegiate potential has yet to translate to the pros.
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Bill Belichick Keeps It Real
Stidham’s NFL sample size (8 appearances) is tiny and leaves many fans in limbo on how to feel about him.
However, there remains hope for Stidham’s future. He will now reunite with former Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who was there for all three of Stidham’s seasons in New England.
Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spoke honestly about the elevation and speed of the game played today, telling CBS’s Ian Eagle and Charles Davis in 2020, “We’re in a new world in the NFL,” via NESN’s Doug Kyed.
“You have a young QB, if he’s drafted high, you don’t have forever to figure out whether or not he’s your guy. And the idea that you can go back to the high school or the college experiences to try to assess that, he doesn’t believe that translates unless you come from a pro-style offense,” Belichick said.
“He said that helps a little bit,” Davis said. “The NFL is just so different.”
Musical Chairs in New England
During Stidham’s stint with the Patriots from 2019 to 2021, there has been a revolving door of QBs. For the past three seasons, he’s been a consistent backup option behind three different starters. His rookie season in 2019 was Tom Brady’s final season in New England.
This was later followed by veteran QB Cam Newton being signed and starting through the pandemic season in 2020. Then in 2021, Mac Jones was drafted, won the spot out and started immediately in the regular season.
Stidham’s possibility to make a difference or win a starting job may have seemed slim, however, it was wide open. During the 2020 season, Newton didn’t play well whatsoever, in fact, many questioned why Belichick didn’t move on from Newton sooner.
In Newton’s lone season with the Patriots, he recorded 242 completions on 368 throws for 2,657 yards, 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, adding another 592 yards and 12 touchdowns on the run.
While Stidham hasn’t performed up to par as of yet, he’s made an impact on his teammates and has proven to be a team player. Former teammate and Patriots star Devin McCourty has spoken highly of of former fourth-round pick to his twin brother, Jason, on their “Double Coverage” podcast.
“To me, there were weeks where he was just on point,” Devin McCourty said on a March 2020 episode. “And those were some of our best weeks as a defense, mainly because Stiddy ate us up in practice leading up to the game, and I think put more pressure on us. So I really admire just how hard he works, and then I’ve got to know him off the field as well. He’s a really good guy. Young guy, but very mature.”
While he’s yet to prove himself in the pros, the Raiders can rest assured they’ve added a great teammate in the locker room and another potential depth option behind Derek Carr in 2022.