- Houston Texans star Deshaun Watson is favored to be the New England Patriots’ starting quarterback for the 2021 NFL season
- Jarrett Stidham is currently atop the Patriots’ depth chart following the departure of Tom Brady, with Cody Kessler the only other QB on Bill Belichick’s roster
- See the full odds board for this fascinating prop below
Who will be the New England Patriots’ quarterback next season now that Tom Brady has become a free agent? Former Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham is the heir apparent currently on the Pats roster, with just Cody Kessler set to back him up barring any other roster moves.
The big question for oddsmakers is who will run the Pats offense in 2021? With the recent big-name departures we’ve seen out of the Houston Texans organization, could it be a former Clemson Tiger?
Patriots’ Starting QB Odds for Week 1 of 2021 Season
Odds taken March 19
Toxic Texans’ Culture?
Watson’s contract with the Houston Texans expires after next season. It seems plausible he could look to leave Houston following this week’s stunning trade of wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to the Arizona Cardinals.
Like many others around the NFL, Watson was clearly shocked by the trade of one of the league’s premier receiving threats.
Man this is crazy! Not sure how you thank someone who has done so much for you and your career. Not only someone who was a leader but one of the best to ever do it. Even more I appreciate your genuine friendship from Day 1. Wishing you everything you deserve Fam! @DeAndreHopkins
— Deshaun Watson (@deshaunwatson) March 17, 2020
Will the trade eventually push Watson to leave? It’s hard to say for certain with free agency still more than a year away.
However, a picture of a toxic culture with the Texans under coach Bill O’Brien is starting to develop.
Hall of Fame wide receiver Michael Irvin said in an interview with ESPN that O’Brien compared Hopkins to late Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez. That remark reportedly came during a recent meeting between O’Brien and Hopkins.
Former Texans wide receiver Jaelen Strong claims O’Brien ruined his career.
This is who Bill O Brien is. Y’all thought it was my fault I wasn’t seeing the field. The man simply didn’t like me because I was a product of my environment. PERFORMANCE means nothing. He wasted my first 3 years ultimately ruining my NFL career. I never knew how to kiss ass ??♂️ https://t.co/CzLaB3pxPq
— Strizzy (@JaelenStrong) March 18, 2020
If this is indeed the atmosphere in Houston, it is easy to envision Watson running for the door at the first opportunity.
Stidham Tops Depth Chart
What happens with the Patriots in 2020 will go a long way in determining what they do at quarterback in 2021.
Jarrett Stidham is currently the starter by default on their roster, and it is not out of the question that coach Bill Belichick will roll with him. However, it would be risky as the Patriots’ fourth-round draft pick last year has thrown just four regular season passes.
Difficult day for @Patriots fans but they need to know BB stole Jarrett Stidham in 4th round. High-end natural arm talent. Comes off his hand so easy. Also bright and mature. Sources say he made huge strides in system last year. Talented enough to be Brady’s long-term successor. pic.twitter.com/s7Jp6ZOV5N
— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 17, 2020
Veteran options such as Cam Newton, Andy Dalton, Joe Flacco, and Jameis Winston feel like one-season stopgaps.
The Patriots could also move to re-acquire Jacoby Brissett, who has become expendable with the Indianapolis Colts following their signing of Philip Rivers in free agency. Brissett’s career record as a starter is just 12-20.
If the Patriots want to get creative, they could sign XFL breakout star P.J. Walker. The Temple product spent two seasons on the Colts’ practice squad but has never appeared in an NFL game.
P.J. Walker should sign with _______? pic.twitter.com/AxUqlR4v82
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) March 15, 2020
It seems doubtful the Patriots will find a surefire quarterback of the future in this year’s draft.
Holding the 23rd pick, New England might be to draft Utah State’s Jordan Love, Washington’s Jacob Eason or Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts. All come with question marks, though. Thus, it seems likely the Patriots will be looking for a quarterback again in 2021.
Could Pats Tank?
It seems inconceivable that the Patriots would consider tanking in 2020. They have won an NFL-record 11 straight division titles as well as 16 of the last 17 AFC East crowns.
However, the prize for tanking and getting the first pick in the 2021 draft would most likely be current Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
It’s all fun and games until the Patriots tank for Trevor Lawrence… pic.twitter.com/7X6OUlTiHB
— DailySportsDosage (@SportsDsd) March 17, 2020
Lawrence has led the Tigers to berths in the CFP championship game in each of his two seasons, including winning the title in 2018.
The 6-foot-6, 220-pounder is clearly a winner and could quickly bring the Patriots back to prominence if they do punt on next season.
Watson seems like the best fit but doesn’t offer value as the favorite. If you’re looking to place on a longshot, take a chance on Brissett, a player with whom Belichick and the Patriots have familiarity.