Bill Belichick Can Return to the AFC East Hierarchy by Reacquiring an Old Friend

Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots have every reason to be nostalgic about the Tom Brady era right now.

For nearly two decades, Brady was the model of consistency and durability in New England. With Brady in Tampa Bay for the 2020 season, New England tested the waters on Cam Newton in a move that bombed badly.

The Patriots need to find a new starting quarterback, and Belichick would be wise to see if he can reunite with an old friend.

Bill Belichick and the Patriots had a difficult 2020

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The old days of Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots steamrolling through the AFC East appear to be over.

Josh Allen and the Bills dominated the division in 2020. The Miami Dolphins, who need to address if Tua Tagovailoa is their long-term starting quarterback, will look to build off a positive season that ended with them just missing the playoffs.

As for the New York Jets? They couldn’t even correctly tank for Trevor Lawrence.

Notice who’s missing from the AFC East hierarchy? Offensive problems, namely the lack of Tom Brady, led to New England finishing 7-9 and out of the postseason for the first time since 2008.

New England hadn’t posted a losing record since 2000, when Brady was a rookie backing up Drew Bledsoe.

Belichick needs to replace Cam Newton at quarterback

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Whatever Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots do at quarterback, it seems likely that Cam Newton won’t be involved.

Newton looked nothing like the former No. 1 overall pick who once won the MVP Award, throwing eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 15 starts. The three-time Pro Bowler also ran for 12 touchdowns on 4.3 yards per carry.

Newton isn’t fully to blame for the Patriots offensive problems. Dependable receiver Julian Edelman only played in six games, and the Patriots’ failures to develop a capable No. 1 or No. 2 receiver showed all season.

Still, Newton didn’t resemble the player he was in Carolina. Although media members speculated that Newton’s struggles may have been related to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, he repeatedly dismissed those claims.

Bill Belichick should try to reunite with Jacoby Brissett

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Bill Belichick needs a new starting quarterback, and he would be wise to call Jacoby Brissett.

A third-round pick of the Patriots in 2016, Brissett spent the last four seasons in Indianapolis. The Colts’ full-time starter in 2017 and 2019, Brissett completed 59.5% of his passes for 6,549 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 13 interceptions across 46 games and 30 starts over the last four years.

Brissett also ran for 12 touchdowns in a Colts uniform. He is set to hit free agency this spring.

New England traded Brissett in the summer of 2017 for receiver help, not because he did anything wrong. Brissett will play most of the 2021 season at 28 years old, and he is already familiar with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels.

It will be interesting to see what type of market that Brissett attracts in free agency. The Colts lost Philip Rivers to retirement, and Saints star Drew Brees is also expected to hang up his cleats.

Brissett is at least familiar with the Patriots’ system, in regards to how things work on the field and what is expected of those in the organization. That could bode well for the Patriots, who need a healthy and proven quarterback in the mix next year.

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