If the World Ends and Tom Brady Does Leave, Who Do You Want at QB for the Patriots?

I hate even typing these words, it’s like saying Candyman five times in the mirror; just don’t. But what if Tom Brady does leave? What are the options and who do you want under center in Foxborough? With the legal tampering period beginning on March 16th and Free Agency beginning on March 18th, we should have an answer one way or another in the next 2 weeks. If Brady does decide to take his talents elsewhere, the Patriots have a host of different options available, some more attractive than others. Lets break it down.

  • Options Currently on the Patriots Roster
    • Jarret Stidham
      • Drafted in the 4th round last year, the Patriots clearly saw something in Stidham who has impressed in the pre-season, but most fans remember him as the guy that blew the spread with a pick six against the Jets in relief duty of Brady last season. It’s too early to say if Stidham is the guy or not, but I don’t think his presence will prevent the Patriots from exploring any and all other options.
    • Cody Kessler
      • Kessler has been running the scout team on the Patriots practice squad and despite Belichick’s odd fascination with the career backup, he’s not the answer.
  • Trade Options
    • Andy Dalton
      • I hate to besmirch a fellow redhead because these are my people, but I just cannot get behind the Patriots starting the post-Tom Brady era with the Red Rifle. He’s had some decent seasons and has been dealing with a TON of injuries over the years to his top weapons in AJ Green and Tyler Eifert so maybe take his lack of sustained success with a grain of salt. He’s only thrown more than 25 touchdowns twice in his career though and hasn’t done it since 2013 so he hasn’t exactly been lighting it up. Whether thats more of a reflection on him or the disaster that is the Bengals is debatable, but this isn’t the guy I am pining for.
    • Matt Stafford
      • This one gained steam towards the end of last week when Patriots color commentator Scott Zolak floated it out of nowhere on 98.5 so it probably has at least been discussed by the Pats. Stafford has never gotten a ton of love, but has always been a legitimate (fantasy) quarterback despite playing for a desolate franchise in the Lions. His contract is also surprisingly cheap based on the way it’s structured so it definitely makes sense for the Patriots if they can get Stafford for a reasonable price. However he did BREAK HIS BACK last year though so proceed with caution on this one. With the No. 3 pick in this year’s draft the Lions could be thinking the same thing and looking to move on from Stafford so keep your eye on this one.
  • Free Agency
    • Marcus Mariota
      • Alright, hand up, I am a Mariota stan and watched as many of his games at Oregon as I possibly could so this may be a little biased. Granted, he’s not the only Heisman winning QB to flame out in the NFL (looking at you Troy Smith), but I honestly think with Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick coaching him the Pats could turn him into a legit starter. Like most scrambling QBs, Mariota hasn’t been the same since he broke his fibula in Week 16 of the 2016 season. Before that though he was pretty solid with 26 TDs and 9 INTs in his first full season before his TDs and Yards dropped off for 2+ seasons resulting in him getting benched. With a 7.5 Yards per Attempt he definitely doesn’t air it out, but even Brady was 26th in the league at 6.6 Yards per Attempt last season. In fact, you know what Brady’s average Yards per Attempt is for his career? That would be the same exact 7.5 as Mariota so you obviously don’t need to air it out to be successful in this offense.
    • Philip Rivers
      • I wouldn’t hate it as Rivers is only one season removed from making the Pro Bowl with 32 TDs and 12 INTs before getting upset by the Pats in the playoffs. He has thrown 15+ INTs six different times though so the Pats may not be keen on a 38-year-old cowboy.
    • Jameis Winston
      • Winston most likely gets franchised by the Bucs unless Tampa somehow convinces Brady to sign there. It would be a hard sell to bring in a guy that just threw 30 picks too. So despite Bruce Arians’ complete inability to hide his disdain for Winston, he may not be on the market unless Brady shocks everyone and moves to the strip club capital of the world.
    • Ryan Tannehill
      • Similar to the situation in Tampa, the Titans will probably franchise or workout a deal with Tannehill unless Brady signs with the Titans, which is the reported favorite outside of New England. Tannehill was excellent last year as were many of his former Dolphins teammates who all seemed to thrive after Miami traded them away. After never posting a rating higher than 94 in six years as the Dolphins QB, Tannehill had a rating of 117.5 last year for the Titans. That’s an absurd improvement. So I wouldn’t bank on Tannehill all of a sudden having turned into an elite QB.
  • Dip Into the Draft
    • Tua Tagovailoa
      • Barring a massive and unforeseen slide in the draft, the Pats would have to trade an absolute haul of picks to move up far enough to snag Tua so this ain’t happening.
    • Justin Herbert
      • The former Duck could go anywhere from No. 5-25 depending on how his combine and interviews go so it’s possible the Pats could trade up if he slides a bit, but I doubt they lust after him enough to move up too much.
    • Jake Fromm
      • This is the guy that I think makes the most sense for the Pats. An undervalued, smart guy who doesn’t have a monster arm but can still make all the throws, ran a pro style offense and has a ton of experience with 43 starts at Georgia. As someone who’s projected to go late in the first (or later), Fromm is someone the Pats could take without overextending themselves.
    • Jordan Love
      • A big arm, scrambling ability, and a ton of potential without a lengthy track record, Jordan Love is basically the 2020 version of Josh Allen. The Patriots have met with the Utah State QB so there is some interest, but this isn’t the type of player Belichick typically wants under center.
    • Random 6th round dart throw
      • Hey it worked for them once right?

Those are the best options barring a blockbuster move nobody sees coming, but the list of Free Agent quarterbacks is LITTERED with bums so pick your poison. If you don’t like any of the names above you can always pick from the likes of Case Keenum, Colt McCoy, AJ McCarron, Blaine Gabbert, Blake Bortles, Geno Smith ALRIGHT ALRIGHT ENOUGH. The point has been made.

An intriguing option nobody has mentioned is Kyle Allen, who had a pretty good stretch filling in for Cam Newton before falling back to Earth. The Panthers have said they are planning to roll with Newton in 2020, but Carolina may be wary of trading a solid backup with Newton’s health far from certain. Allen’s numbers weren’t exactly lights out finishing with 17 TDs, 16 INTs, 3,322 Yards, and an abysmal 6.79 Yards per Attempt, but he could be a dark horse candidate for a young QB the Pats think they can coach up.

So lets all just pray to the old gods and the new that Tom Brady doesn’t go anywhere, but if he does who do you want under center next season?

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