The New England Patriots are coming off their first time missing the playoffs in over a decade. Since the end of their disappointing 2020 season, the dialogue around the Patriots remains on their quarterback plans. With that in mind, head coach Bill Belichick may be heading toward a massive mistake that could wreck the franchise’s long-term future.
Patriots stumble in 2020 season
In their first season without Tom Brady on the roster in the last two decades, the Patriots struggled to succeed.
The initial hope centered on offseason addition Cam Newton putting forth a resurgent campaign, but that quickly turned out to be a pipe dream. Newton started strong with a stellar outing against the Seattle Seahawks, but things fell apart from that point forward.
The 31-year-old couldn’t find his footing at any point in the season behind his arm. Newton finished 24th with 2,657 passing yards, 33rd with eight touchdown passes, and 30th with a 47.0 quarterback rating. His lack of stability in the passing game contributed significantly to New England falling well short of reaching the playoffs.
Unsurprisingly, the conversation around the franchise has shifted toward moving off Newton after one season. With the expectation of a new signal-caller under center for 2021, the dialogue around head coach Bill Belichick’s offseason plans for the position should draw some concern.
Bill Belichick may commit a huge mistake that hurt the Patriots’ future
The Patriots are heading in a new direction under center in 2021, with their next option likely coming outside their current roster.
Bill Belichick looks to potentially have plenty of options ahead in the trade market and free agency to find his next quarterback. However, Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston recently voiced to WEEI that he believes the team will likely pursue a middle-tier option in the offseason. (H/T Radio.com)
“To me, I think they will be more of a mid-tier team that will try its luck in the draft, so meaning mid-tier free agent — a [Marcus] Mariota, a [Jacoby] Brissett, whoever they deem worth chasing and securing and then to play it in the draft,” he said. “That’s the hardest thing about this — do you force it in the first round with a Mac Jones or a Kyle Trask, who certainly don’t seem to me to be first-round quarterbacks? Or do you say, ‘we’re going to take that good linebacker and see if Trask or Jones if we take them in the second round are players we can develop, or somebody else?’”
Curran’s comments give the sense that the Patriots don’t have a desire to either bundle draft pick assets to acquire a top-tier option or take a risk on a quarterback in the first round of the draft.
Since Belichick took over the reins in New England, the organization has developed a strong reputation for being tight with its spending on players. Curran’s remarks certainly feed into that notion, but much can change in the coming months.
New England will have their options
The Patriots’ long history of tight spending under Bill Belichick doesn’t provide an optimistic sense around their quarterback situation.
However, New England may have a few options that may be too much to overlook. Pro Bowler Deshaun Watson internally voiced to the Houston Texans that he wants a trade. Last offseason, there was some chatter about him joining the Patriots down the line.
Meanwhile, Matthew Stafford is expected to be move at some point in the coming weeks. The Patriots could also explore bringing back Jimmy Garoppolo if the San Francisco 49ers want to move in another direction.
There are many different avenues New England can take; it’s on Bill Belichick’s shoulders to decide whether he wants to spend any of the anticipated $57 million in salary-cap space or move significant assets to get his next quarterback.