The New England Patriots are venturing into another offseason with questions surrounding their quarterback situation. There remains plenty of mystery concerning what will unfold in the coming weeks. However, Bill Belichick does hold a preferred route with the matter that may have a substantial hurdle in the way.
Patriots go through Cam Newton experience
In the first time in two decades, Bill Belichick and the Patriots experienced their first season without Tom Brady.
The pathway led them toward going through a one-year experimental run with Cam Newton. The franchise hoped that the change of scenery in their offensive system would reinvigorate Newton’s career, but the situation didn’t unfold in that manner.
As the 2020 campaign moved along, Newton’s struggles throwing the ball became more apparent. The three-time Pro Bowler did remain a considerable factor with his legs behind 12 rushing touchdowns, but his reliability in the passing game just wasn’t there.
Newton finished the year ranked 24th with 2,657 passing yards, 33rd with eight passing touchdowns to 10 interceptions, 30th with a 47.4 quarterback rating. He failed to reach 200 passing yards in six out of the final eight regular-season games, including throwing seven interceptions over that span.
The door is certainly open to Newton returning for another campaign as a full offseason with OTAs and training camp would help him gather more comfort running the offense. However, the Patriots are eyeing another quarterback this offseason that may have a substantial hurdle preventing the move.
Bill Belichick’s ideal Patriots offseason faces a huge looming hurdle
It’s no secret that the Patriots have been eyeballing the potential opportunity to bring back Jimmy Garoppolo.
Bill Belichick’s admiration for Garoppolo is well noted as the team previously envisioned him as Tom Brady’s eventual replacement. As the 29-year-old goes through another offseason hindered with uncertainty around his future with the San Francisco 49ers, Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer believes any chance of a reunion hinges on a single factor. (H/T MSN)
“I don’t think a team like New England or anybody else can go into this offseason banking on the idea that Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be available,” Breer said. “Maybe he will be, but I think for that to happen, the Niners are going to have to find somebody that they see as a clear upgrade from Jimmy Garoppolo.”
The 49ers won’t just part ways from Garoppolo to save money without having another viable option in place. Recent reports have surfaced that San Francisco has talked to the Carolina Panthers about Teddy Bridgewater.
Simultaneously, the franchise is more than comfortable with moving forward with Garoppolo for another season. Over the last several months, general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan have spoken highly of him.
If the 49ers can’t find an equal or better option under center, any hope of Garoppolo back in New England this offseason will be nothing more than a pipe dream.
New England will have their options
There may be uncertainty around the Patriots concerning their quarterback situation, but several options are on the table.
Beyond the obvious scenario of bringing back Cam Newton, Bill Belichick can explore the trade market. There is some strong interest in Marcus Mariota, who the Raiders haven’t exactly shut down the trade chatter.
Belichick could go the route of turning to Jarrett Stidham, but there isn’t any indication that they are enamored with that idea. There is also the upcoming draft, as the team could buck against their trend by taking a quarterback in the early rounds.
That said, the likely route will see the Patriots allow the offseason unfold first before they make a move. It all points to the upcoming weeks being quite telling of where things are headed in New England.