If Tom Brady does in fact decide that he’s played his last game as a Patriot, then the next big question in New England will be, who takes over as the starting quarterback?
There already are several rumors floating around, including the Patriots being interested in former 1st round pick, Marcus Mariota, who has seen his career go from boom to bust in just four years.
Andy Dalton is also a possibility should the Cincinnati Bengals choose to move on from the “Red Rifle” in favor of LSU’s Joe Burrow. If that happens, could Cincy be willing to trade Dalton to the Patriots, knowing he could return to haunt them for several years?
A third possibility, as far fetched as it seems, for whatever reason, seems to not be going away. It’s indeed very interesting, but it won’t happen…right?
The deal goes like this- Tom Brady ends up in San Francisco, playing for the team he grew up watching as a kid. The Pats in return get Jimmy Garoppolo, who New England loved, and still loves, and would enjoy nothing more than to get him right back into their organization.
Five years ago, this would have been epic- Brady at 42, going on 43-years old, not so much. Not that Brady has regressed in play either, stat wise he might have, however weapons wise, let’s just stay that Mitch Trubisky had more offensive firepower in Chicago than Brady did in New England this past season.
Give Brady all those weapons in San Francisco, and it’s possible the 49ers are once again, Super Bowl contenders. But again, this is highly doubtful that it happens, so we come full circle to major picks should Brady not return to the Patriots in 2020.
1- The Patriots sign a veteran and plug him in to play next season, be it Mariota, Teddy Bridgewater, Josh Rosen, Andy Dalton, or maybe check the market to see if a Nick Foles becomes available in free agency.
2- The Patriots ride with 2019 4th round pick, Jarrett Stidham, who looked pretty good in the preseason.
Of course, there’s much risk with the second option, especially for a team that was a couple of bad calls away in a regular season game against the Kansas City Chiefs from finishing with the second overall seed. Do the Patriots really want to turn the franchise over, a year removed from their 6th Super Bowl title, to what essentially is a rookie quarterback who has to fill in the shoes of the great Tom Brady?
If anybody is going to do it, it would be Bill Belichick.
And even if the Patriots choose to move up in the NFL Draft and take a quarterback like Georgia’s Jake Fromm or Washington’s Jacob Eason, they probably don’t play at all in their rookie season, and the question here is, who takes over next season, not two or three years from now.
So for now, the NFL is on a wait-and-see with Tom Brady, and as each day goes by and gets closer to the opening of free agency talks on March 16, the anticipation builds. Despite a first round exit, the Patriots and Brady are the story of the NFL off-season, the only question is, who makes the first move? The football world is waiting…watching.