It's no secret that Tom Brady is separating himself from all others when it comes to conversations about who is the greatest of all time. The 43-year old seems to only be getting better as in his first year as starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, brought home only the second ever Lombardi Trophy to Tampa Bay. The man just wins. For the franchise and city that Brady has done most of his winning for, the New England Patriots had their first season without starting Brady in eleven years and their first season without having his contracts in the books in twenty-one seasons. The question must be asked, if anyone, who will step up and be the new leader of this once great franchise?
Head of all thing football-related for the Patriots is another g.o.a.t. Bill Belichick. We're now entering year 2 of Belichick's plans post-Brady and things don't exactly look promising. Cam Newton, the starter for last season who threw for 2657 yards, 8 touchdowns and 10 interceptions on 65% completion percentage has just reigned with for one years with New England. "The deal is worth close to $14 million" reports Adam Schefter. That leaves other unrestricted free agent, 35-year old Brian Hoyer who's likely to leave the team, and young developmental project Jarrett Stidham on the roster as the Patriots first "backup plans."
The biggest question facing the Patriots Quarterback room is the future potential of Jarrett Stidham. The 3rd year out of Auburn has thrown less than 50 passes along with 2 touchdowns and 4 interceptions in his limited snaps for the Pats. Will the question be answered this year if Bellichick has been keeping him around because he believes in him? Or is he another backup the Patriots never plan to use? If so, who's the future?
The Patriots own the 15th pick of this year's draft and have an interesting decision to make as there are six QB's likely to be drafted in the first round. The first three QB's (Lawrence, Wilson and Fields are unlikely to fall to 15, but the three that can be expected to be available to the Patriots are developmental with a great ceiling especially when taught by Bellichick and his staff. Mac Jones (Alabama), Trey Lance (North Dakota St.) and Kyle Trask (Florida) have been dubbed as the "backup plans" for teams QB-thirsty, especially Jones who has drawn some comparisons to Brady over the past few months with his passion for tape study and his pudgy physique eerily similar to a combine photo of a not-well-known prospect in 2000.
The fact is that the Patriots seemingly are years away form finding their next franchise QB. The good news for their community is if any coach can lead his team to a Lombardi Trophy without a franchise Qb it is Bellichick and with 4 starters coming back this season who sat out the 2020 season due to COVID, the Patriots defense looks like it will pick up where it left off over the last 4 years as being Top-5 in the league. If the Pats figure out what they're doing with their shot-caller they may bounce back quicker than anyone thought.