- The Patriots finished with a disappointing 7-9 season with Cam Newton under center
- Backup Jarrett Stidham is the heavy favorite to be their starting QB next season
- Who are some other quarterbacks that could be their signal caller and is there value in betting on them?
The first season post-Brady era did not go according to plan for Bill Belichick and company. The team struggled mightily on offense, ranking 25th in passing (Pro Football Focus) with Cam Newton at the helm. Though the 2011 first overall pick ran for twelve TD’s, he only threw for eight scores, so the writing appears to be on the wall that New England will move on.
With the playoffs assured to be out of the question in the final two weeks, Belichick opted not to give a start to 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham. His stat line in mop up duty in Week 16 would explain why, as he was a pedestrian 4-for-11 for 44 passing yards against Buffalo.
With the Patriots expecting key contributors on defense back following a season that they declined to play due to COVID-19, are they able to be competitive again with them in the fold or will they embrace a full-on rebuild? Who might be the signal-caller to attempt to lead them back to the promised land?
Odds to be Patriots’ Starting QB Week 1 of 2021 NFL Season
Odds as of Jan 6th
Stidham Hasn’t Shown Much
Bill Belichick has had Jarrett Stidham in his program for two years, and it would appear pretty clear that he doesn’t have much faith in him, so much so that it’s enough to indict him as the future heir apparent.
He’s played in parts of eight games but has never had a start. Back in Week 4, when Cam Newton couldn’t play due to being on the COVID-19 list, the Pats declined to start Stidham in favor of veteran Brian Hoyer and only after there were huge struggles did Belichick turn to Stidham.
If #Patriots HC Bill Belichick and OC Josh McDaniels believed Jarrett Stidham would be their next starting QB, I doubt Cam Newton and his five TD passes on the season would be playing once team out of contention.
— Ed Werder (@WerderEdESPN) December 29, 2020
In his career, he’s thrown two TD’s, four INT’s and has been wholly average with 24-for-48 passing. Though he can’t be ruled out as the Week 1 starter while the Patriots potentially groom a 2021 draft pick, he’s hardly a slam dunk, and at -220 odds, he’s not appealing to wager on.
The Pats still won seven games despite struggles on offense and they were without linebacker Dont’a Hightower, safety Patrick Chung, offensive tackle Marcus Cannon along with other role players due to COVID-19 opt-outs. So, with them back in the fold and a competent QB, it’s not out of the realm of possibility they could compete for a Wild Card spot.
What’s Old is New Again?
One very intriguing potential target could be a familiar face in Massachusetts, 2014 second-round pick Jimmy Garoppolo. There were rumblings that San Francisco might move on from him. That was after their Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs last year, and then he was only able to play in six games before going on injured reserve with a high ankle sprain in 2020. In the last three seasons, he’s missed nearly half of the contests (23 out of a possible 48).
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 3, 2021
That could open the door for a reunion in New England as Belichick perhaps drafts another QB with an eye to the future. His +650 odds are more attractive than Sam Darnold’s +600 because it would be a big surprise to see the Jets deal within their division. Then again, it is the Jets, so crazier things have happened.
Earlier this year, #Jets coach Adam Gase said he had failed to develop Sam Darnold. What's #Patriots coach Bill Belichick see? "I don't think you could have anybody better coaching him than where he's (Darnold) at." @nflnetwork
— Michael Giardi (@MikeGiardi) December 30, 2020
Another name with huge odds to consider is Ryan Fitzpatrick at +3300 to complete the full tour of the AFC East and his ninth NFL organization. With Miami committed to Tua Tagovailoa as their starter, Belichick could draft a QB and have a solid established veteran like Fitzpatrick at the helm. The odds are definitely intriguing enough to sprinkle on him.
Ultimately, Robert Kraft and co. will probably feel it’s best to bring back a familiar face that they know well and could pair with a rejuvenated defense to return to the post-season.
Pick: Jimmy Garoppolo (+650)